Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Minor Details

Let's not get tripped up on family drama, it's relative in everyone's life. It's bound to happen when you put that many people under one roof and let life happen naturally. Needless to say, I think it is safe to assume that, when you are 18, you are NOT prepared for life as you know it, it just feels like you are. I was not only longing to see myself become something greater but to have total support around me. Who doesn't want that???!!! I think if we are honest we all want total support but that's not just something you find near the ketchup bottle in the morning. I know they had no idea this was going to go the way it did, but who are we fooling, we didn't tell anybody or consult anyone for help on the matter. Who's to say that wanting to move out is wrong, and who's to say that staying home with your parents is right??? Isn't that the age old question that all parents want answered?! It was a sheer surprise that my brother was able to get my father to go ahead with using the truck to move my 3 bedroom items. Oh yeah baby! I was leaving home with a bed and 2 dressers........oh and a night stand. I thought the world of my new place. It didn't matter to me that I didn't have living room furniture, or a table and chairs. Who needed them anyway? I was always at work! Now I will always be downstairs in the salon and just come upstairs to sleep and shower basically! It sounded perfect. I was so excited for the Saturday afternoons when I needed a nap so badly and could crawl into bed and not have to listen to the rest of the family finally emerging from their bedrooms for a late brunch. I was soooooooo structured and loved going to work. I couldn't understand how anyone could sleep til 1 pm and not feel like half the day was gone! We were all so different. Have you ever wondered how you could come out of the same womb as all of your other siblings but have no idea from what side of the uterus they drew from???? Come on! I know I'm not the only one! I am not gonna lie here, it was weird moving into a completely new place with only 4 items and my clothing. I was determined to make it work, and so I did. No one is ever more scared of making money than you are the moment you move out on your own. I didn't even have a credit card then, just cash. Cold hard cash money. I believe, in retrospect, that my boss was my mother hen, and knew I would be all right. I had this drive inside of me, pushing me. Once you put a challenge in front of me I am golden. I have thanked her over the years multiple times for teaching me the ins and outs of everyday life. She put it in a way that I could see she expected even greater for me, and took the time to share what she knew. I think that is key right there. Who's to say that my parents did or didn't know these things. I don't remember talking about it around the dinner table as a distant goal to relish in the successes of one another. How could we know what that looked like????? NO one around us did it!!!! How do you plan on imitating something you've never seen before??? YOU DON"T. I am no Debbie downer here, but it just wasn't going to happen unless you had betrothed us all before the age of 18, found us jobs within a conservative value system and began to watch as we build our own stairs towards Heaven where Jesus would usher us in with open arms. No SERIOUSLY! It was as if the undertone of this thing called life was a spiritual climb towards Heaven with no blips or mistakes along the way. Parents don't lie, you have your kids lives mapped out before they turn 3 and when it doesn't pan out the way you thought it would, there isn't a whole lot of info out there on how NOT to lose your mind. I am sure parents think they are doing their best, but you tell me how that is possible when we don't even know how to deal with ourselves let along another human being that we can easily put expectations on?! No matter, I moved. I was in my very own place. It had begun, the journey to adulthood had officially started with each new step I took from there. And so marks the time period in my life where all things pertaining to my career and personal life started to merge. You get to a point in life where you begin to look back and it all seems to fade together or rather melt together like an abstract painting. As long as all the pieces are there it all comes together to create the art of your life. My 20's were just around the corner and if it was anything like what I was feeling right now, I welcomed it with open arms. This next phase in my life of living alone had come so fast for all of us, I think we were all in shock for the first few weeks. I can remember beaming from ear to ear as I came into work and was able to tell my clients I had moved upstairs in the building to apartment #6. I was so proud I could hardly contain myself. I was always so eager to get off work and head out to the gym where I could hang around the energy flying around inside those doors. I wanted so badly to become a badazz woman with that fearless and sexy vibe (I was sure I would eventually find it somewhere lying around the floor in the ladies locker room). Ha! Let's remember I was young and sheltered. I knew it would take time, but I would find her, I would embody her. It isn't wrong to love yourself, unless you're the only one in the house feeling that!!! Then you're talking drama. Now I didn't have to put up with that negativity and I wasn't going to let anything stop me from getting this chubby butt in shape. It is no understatement that the control gloves had not yet come off once I moved out. How silly to think that we, as people, should put up boundaries on control or passive-aggressive tone of voice to allow others the opportunity to live their own life. Now wait just a minute! Before you jump down my neck...I didn't say never give advice or guidance. I said control or passive-aggressive speak to manipulate an outcome that you want versus the individual. IN OTHER WORDS, MIND GAMES....STOP THE MIND GAMES, PEOPLE. If I was old enough to be on my own, those years leading up to jumping free of the nest would have been the time to instruct young minds on how to be. If you weren't capable of fitting said info into those 18 years you're out of luck and honestly need to be fired. Being a young mind and making mistakes because of immaturity is par for the course. Like any other day of the week when I was done at work I headed straight to the mall to see my boyfriend or straight to the gym to work on finding the awesome girl that lived inside of me that I was just dying to meet! I thought I had it made until my phone rang and who is crazily stalking my apartment door? None other than my mother who wanted to know why I wasn't answering the door. I remember looking down at the screen on my phone like where has this woman been? This is the REASON I WAS KICKED OUT, FOR BEING AT THE GYM AFTER CURFEW! I said I am not home, I'm never home at this time, I am at the gym working out. Why, may I ask, are you at my place? I didn't have any plans for you to come over. She was not real keen on giving me a full honest answer (most likely it was sadness or a trying to stay connected issue). She began to tell me that I needed to get home, I had work in the morning, and I needed to be home at a decent hour. I tried really hard not to slam my phone shut. I was over the edge at that point, I knew this was another phase in pulling back the onion peels of dysfunction that was our family dynamics. I was so glad that I had made the right choice for me and took control of my outcome so long ago. I was going to be okay. She would eventually stop showing up unexpectedly and I wouldn't need to screen my calls. It would take years but this painful journey of wanting to cuss like a trucker when she drove me nuts would eventually shed light on so much more of a deeper issue. One I hadn't even been born for. I began to spread my wings and it was great. The longer I was on my own, the weirder it felt to go home and visit. Walking through the front door wasn't like it used to be and that was a good thing. I didn't sense the feeling of belonging inside those walls when I had lived there, why would I feel it now. The saddest part about that was, where was I to go if it wasn't there. I mean that is family, right? Oh no folks, there's a whole lot to that word that has nothing to do with blood. I should clarify not human blood, but Christ's. If we had truly understood what he had done for us on the cross and how he came to relate to the lost and how he wanted total communication with all of us to create this amazing relationship for our spirit and to save our soul, I believe we would have handled everything differently. That is such a simple sentence to type but it is not easily felt or understood. That is my goal as we move forward in this blog. That we begin to come from one place, one understanding that we are created with a purpose and for that to happen we must understand our value in the Lord and to learn to communicate fully what we are feeling and thinking. This will allow plugging into a community of many people focused on loving one another in spite of what our age or gender is. It's a long shot, I know. I believe we can change the world one person at a time if we start with ourselves and we're honest down to the last fiber of our being about what we are feeling and needing in those moments that are truly who we are. Whether selfish or doubtful or just plain frivolous sharing it with someone who can listen and understand. Most importantly to let you know your not alone, I've been there before...........

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"The Big Move"

What else is there to do other than sit there and stare at me as if I just cursed in church?!.......this was the continual problem with the family dynamics. Like I had said previously, I was given a choice or so I thought? Being the parent in this situation demanded certain requirements that aren't easily grasped by those jaded by their own young adult lives. In this particular part of my adolescent life, I had been given an "ultimatum" to either obey the rules of the house and it's curfew or get out. But if we slow down for a minute and really think about it, they had put that out there to manipulate the end result. They knew all along they had never taught me "HOW" to move out, so how would I? Let me put this in laymen's terms: they used a tactic to ensure the result would scare the crap out of me to get me to obey out of fear and intimidation. I sat there so proud of really getting it, of seeing through it. This was a reality check that I wasn't obeying and needed to take responsibility to get out on my own and assume full control of my path. They sat there irritated and pissed off because I had taken the path they were sure would never be chosen. STUPID! How could you know I wouldn't choose that path? Is this the only place on earth to live? Do we have people knocking down our doors to get in here that I don't know about?? Why are you not proud I CAN take care of myself????? I was never so disgusted in my life, there was no getting around that these people were out for blood, total control, and anything less just wasn't going to suit. There is no sweet part to this story other than the elevation of my self worth I had at that moment. My value wasn't hinged on whether or not my parents thought I could do something but whether or not I believed I could. I have to say there was no prouder moment than knowing that I had one person, my boss believing the best in me and seeing me get better every day. My father was not only furious that I was leaving, he had stated it in front of everyone, so now the whole family knew. At this point I was following his handbook, he just had not factored in my "awesomeness". Don't feel bad for me, its hard to capitalize on how great your children are when there is no time left in the day. How can you when your life is just trying to survive the work day and then coming home to the madness that was our house. No it wasn't drunken, slurring madness, it was more the black hole of deadly silence that sucked at your very existence and little bit of joy a human had just awakening in the morning. There's no one that has more empathy for the whole situation than me at this point in my life but let's remember we were dealing with the 18 year old me. I was proud of taking this step, WHY THE HECK DID HE EVER GIVE ME THE CHOICE IF HE DIDN'T THINK I COULD DO IT????!!!!! On some level of sanity even the craziest of conservative parents know they can't lock their kids up and keep them forever, but my parents couldn't see that I was growing up. I knew I should have gone further away from home!!! Ha ha! There is some truth to leaving for college so when you come back the control cord has been severed and they begin to see they can't hold you down and control you forever. It's not just a learning curve for young adults, but also for the parents. I didn't get many positive remarks that night as to how I thought I was going to pull this off. I didn't get the "WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU....blah blah blah blah" line that parents hand out when you achieve the un-achievable! Instead I had the glaring eyes of doom that had solidly settled on the whoring around thing that had been thrown around the table a few nights before like a pair of dirtied silk panties. It was clear my parents had formed a club for the "in complete denial" over the last decade and they were sticking to their platform no matter what. I could see where this was going for the long haul so I decided it was better to deal with it in some form rather than to back down. I tried to be as jovial as one could when changing their whole life in just 4 days. I was excited to know I could make enough money and continue to grow, while having some sanity and privacy as well. My father eventually left the table as my mother continued to question my ability to even afford such a thing. Of course she would say that!!!! Her daughter couldn't be smarter than her now could she??? How could she really relate to me, she hadn't achieved this for herself. Some of you may feel my pain in this moment. It wouldn't be all that bad if our children are smarter than we are. Would it??? well.....NO. But if your relationship is rocky, that puts a different spin on it. When there is no REAL, intimate connection to understanding ourselves fully and then getting to know our children, huge gaps in communication come in, causing total chaos with any subject matter at hand. Basically, there is always a war at the table and every man for himself. My choice of warfare was always "words". I hate to admit it, but I knew back then they hadn't a clue what to do with someone like me. Things had to get better when I moved to my apartment. How could they be bad when the only person there was me? and I liked her! Going back to work, I told my boss that I had given them the news and they weren't happy. She looked at me strangely as if to say "What the heck DO these people want"?? She sat me down again and could see I had no support system in place other than my therapist & her.(Geez, I sound like a middle aged male stock broker twice divorced at this point) I'll never forget our conversation that day. She looked me in the eye and said "your parents are young, give them time to grow out of this phase in their life". I looked right back and didn't hesitate to answer her with words that still haunt me to this day. "THIS hasn't even begun to scrape the surface of who they are. This isn't going away. Mark my words, it's just begun". My friends and my boyfriend hadn't even heard the news yet! I was never so excited to show them my new place! It happened so suddenly that they didn't even know how to react just yet. At this point everyone I knew my age was either in college or living with mommy and daddy. Good golly, they didn't even know what it was like to plan to pay their own cell phones, let alone take out car insurance in their own name. Speaking of insurance, my parents had had plenty of time to rally more of their own mental troops, so when I got home that night, (yes I made it for curfew,) they sat me down to talk about the insurance I would need to purchase for my car. You might think that I hadn't factored that in. Well you're right, I hadn't, but my boss did! She was amazing, she was always one step ahead in the game with me. She had put me on that budget for everything a young person needs to know about being responsible for themselves. My parents didn't know that so I played it oh so cool back then. I wasn't going to have any more negative feedback to kill my grown-up vibes, not tonight. I was 3 short days away from moving! Nothing could stop me now. I knew deep down it was another fear tactic performed by my oh so talented at fear mongering conservative parents. I felt so bad for them that they had waited so long to plug into this beautiful existence of mine. Someone had beat them to the punch. Someone else had seen the potential of who I could aspire to be. Now instead of teaching me or preparing me for real life, they were trying to use it to keep me from real life. How messed up is that? The blessed day came and I figured there would be hangups or set backs to moving my bedroom furniture into the apartment. Who couldn't see that coming? It would never have stopped me, I would have slept on the floor before I would have stayed in that house. But never the less my father was going through this bizarre "she doesn't love me anymore" pity party. I was NOT attending. He would lend out his truck to every derelict there was in our zip code so I thought it was a no brainer to think his daughter could use it. I had made a decision to move to be more respectful to him and responsible for myself. I guess I should have expected he wouldn't help me since he was angry. There is no telling how many times my needs or my sibling's needs (hell their own needs!) were not handled but we were trying to save America one jail bait at a time. Back then, my brother could see how this situation had its own code of ethics and tried settling the move by taking the responsibility off my father and onto himself. He looked high and low for the truck keys but could not find them. He was at his wits end and decided to play my father's game against him. He went downstairs looked him right in the eye and asked him "Do you really think this is going to keep her from going? She may never talk to you again if you make it impossible for her to go." Next thing I knew he was walking back up the steps after my father told him where he had hid them. I know you're dying to know where he hid the keys........When I think back now how he must have been at one of the worst moments in his life to poke a hole in the mattress and stuff them up into it. Thinking back on it, I begin to have such sadness come over me, for this was the best day of the rest of my life......and one of the worst for him.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The ultimatum grenade blows

Lets picture the scene together. This is one of those moments that is monumental or life altering, but you don't know it yet. It was as if time slowed down and I could see what was coming. I had sat at the large table right inside the door where the rest of my family was, mind you my siblings are quite a bit younger than I, except my brother. I knew from the moment my father started questioning me I wasn't going to win the conversation. You get it. There wasn't a relationship at this table that REALLY trusted one another. They'd sell me like Joseph in a heart beat to get a raise in church leadership if ya know what I mean. (take note Joseph does save everyone's life in the end). Who was I kidding, they had a vendetta before I even got through the door. I sat there looking at my siblings listen to how I was being accused of some kind of sin against God, and all of humanity, not to mention myself. What the heck is wrong with these people? How have things turned around to make me out to be some wretched woman, not to mention my sisters and brother couldn't make themselves oatmeal correctly at this age, let alone understand any kind of rebellion like ditching curfew. I watched them sit there and stare at me like their eyes were blackened. They had lost all connection with me. Well....actually we never had any. I don't think my dad quite knew what he had gotten himself into, but he wasn't going to back down now. My mother isn't the kind of woman you come home to, curl up near and share the mushy gushies of lifelong dreams and the current adolescent dreaming that I was doing. She has a peculiar feel to her, there is a dead zone, a cold superficiality that is only explained by trying to get into deep conversation. You won't need long to figure out your only going to get so far before it replays and your right back to where you started from. I put it all together later in life that she had shut down during her own chilling childhood to preserve what sanity she had left! I operated out side of her understanding, so naturally she was always on the defensive- ready for war, life preservation you may say. I began to push back hard, I let them know very firmly that I wasn't doing anything wrong and I just needed my own space to grow. I had graduated beauty school and found a great job which was helping me expand, and I just needed my own thing after work to connect with friends and myself a little. Asking me to be home a half hour after I got off work just wasn't going to work for me. Anyone out there wincing? Waiting for the fist to come down or slap you across the face? Thank goodness I didn't get any physical abuse, just verbal on this one. Not the swearing kind, no, something much greater in form, the attack your existence kind, or character. This is the slice you down the middle moment my father had been waiting for. He told me that being out after dark as a young woman meant I was destroying my walk with God. I was furious cause he was just beating around the bush, Hell, he was taking a stroll around the bush. I said so you think I am having "SEX"?! I had said it. You could have heard a pin drop. My whole family except my mother who's head was down, weird, just stared at me like I had said the most horrible thing on the planet. I was never going to make it with these people. God made sex, we're all sexual beings, sex isn't perverse, but somehow it was being treated like Hell itself had mated with my soul, and I was never gonna make it to Heaven. My father said who knows what your doing, you have a boyfriend we don't know, you won't obey curfew so what are we supposed to think? Okay- now's the moment in my head where I am looking at this poor man like those are our only two options here? In for curfew or total slut? I had to let him down easy, it was clear we were not on the same page. He wasn't going to go for the "I don't want to turn out like you , so I don't come home line". I stated as clearly as could, "if I wanted to have sex, I could get it down by 9:30 pm no problem, nowadays sin can happen any hour of the day". He looked right at me as if he was in a far away land at this point. "If you can't obey our rules here, it's time you move out, pay your own way". My mothers head finally perked up, I guess he wasn't going by the playbook at this point. I loved how he added pay your own way. Don't you just hate the way parents always throw money in there like they have been adding up every cent they have ever spent on you since birth??? Like I asked to be here, what happened to the whole- we wanted children & you're a gift from GOD part???!!!! My mother started in on my father, she was furious that he said move out. I needed to get out of there. It hadn't gone their way and the choice was mine to make, so I just said quickly, I think you're right. I never knew in that moment how my life would change forever. I left the table and went upstairs to cry my eyes out because I had no money(so I thought) and I was going to have to live in my car and never shop again. Just those two thoughts alone kept me up all night wondering how I was going to get myself out of this place. I didn't have the kind of friends that I wanted to move in with and I surely couldn't take care of myself could I? Sunday seemed to go by quickly, I did the usual and went to church to see lots of people and to go to the gym. I dreaded that ride home because there was no staying out late that night, I wasn't going to push it. I got through the day but stayed away from everyone and knew this wasn't what I wanted in a family or home life. I didn't want any of this disconnect. For the record I hated it and the sooner I got out of there the better. Monday came unusually fast and there was no one more excited to go to work than me. I got ready so fast I made it to work a half hour earlier than usual. My boss worked Monday's in the morning and I would go in to help her plus it helped me build up my book. I thought I could act nonchalant but by the time I got through the door I began to cry. She was in the back room sitting at her desk with most of the lights off as usual to save on electric! We could grow mushrooms in our back office it was so dark. I sat down at the closest chair to her desk and looked at her with eyes that must have said "Help Me". She looked up at me and stopped what she was doing. She put her glasses down and said what is going on? I told her over the weekend my parents had told me I had to make a decision about living at home and obey the curfew or get out, not to mention the whole sex scandal I was supposedly a part of as well. She didn't hesitate to ask me if I WAS having sex, which is where I wanted to know what the heck is everyone drinking around here!!!!! No! I said I can't even look at myself getting out of the shower let alone GET NAKED WITH ANYBODY! I explained everything I could to her about how I was accused. I could not understand how two people on the planet could be so disconnected to their own child and accuse her of some deviant act against God. They didn't trust me and they didn't see any good in me. She looked up at me and said its time you move out anyway, you're a young woman who needs her own space. I flipped, with what money I said, I can't afford that!!! She asked me to hand her my checkbook, which was in my purse, but I said no. I knew it didn't have enough in there to move out so why bother. She said give it to me. She opened up the accounts book that was sitting on her desk and added up my last 4 checks and added up my deposits in my account and they matched. She said well, the problem isn't that you don't have enough money, it is what you spend your money on! I was actually surprised to hear this was achievable. She looked at me and said let's put you on a mock budget (wow, I had never had this kind of help before), we had all the normal bills with being on your own and had enough money left over for any emergencies. I had accomplished all that in just under 2 years?! She picked up the phone faster than I could put all the pieces together, and someone picked up on the other side. I heard her ask if any rooms were available at this time? She hung up and said #6 is available upstairs for rent, along with a parking spot under the building. Yep, you got it. The salon is located in huge building that happens to have apartments as well. She said lets go see it. So we met the janitor upstairs in an hour to walk through the place. My knees were shaking so badly, I thought there is no way I have the guts or know how to do all of this. As we opened the door to the apartment I could see into the large room in front of me it had cathedral ceilings and a small kitchen......I was hooked, not to mention 2 bedrooms and a washer dryer room with a full bathroom. What more could I want? I didn't even need to drive to work anymore! I could come in through the back door. I agreed and she was able to have him waive the security deposit since it was such short notice on moving. I moved in Friday. Those 4 days wouldn't get here fast enough. Who could forget dinner that night? I walked in the door more nervous than when I found out I was up there with Delilah. I said to myself now is as good a time as any, just spit it out. Everyone was at the table that night and I said " I've made my decision, I'm moving out.....I move Friday". They stopped, looked up at me and said nothing.......

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Plot Thickens.....

I've never been so nervous and excited all at one time. Maybe it was because deep down inside that small intense box tucked away in my brain I knew I had it in me to continue on this journey. That marked a day in history for me like no other from there on out, because had I not found "that girl" within me she wasn't going to be able to handle ANYTHING I had to face in the future! I have said before I loved my job! I got up in the morning and went into work whether I had clients to do or not. I always dressed up from day one. I approached everything with intensity that grew in me as I went. I loved getting to know people's appts were coming up whether they were my clients or not. It gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment to know I could achieve anything I set my mind to. If I could get that woman or man to come back to me BECAUSE they liked their hair, I started to dream, and dream big I did from the beginning......I knew I was going to own a salon from the moment I set foot inside the doors of beauty school. I was okay with walking the steps to success so that I truly owned it and it couldn't be taken away. Anyone who enters this industry with intentions of owning a salon wants more than just standing behind the chair. They want total control over their lives, and independence from the status quo of who stands beside them. Did I choose a salon right out of the gate who could mentor me and continue to see advancement in me beyond my wildest of dreams?! NO! Do you think this is a fairy tale??!! WAKE-UP!Put the kool-aid down...So it wasn't at the top of my dream list, but it was real. They didn't want what I wanted, that's okay, as long as you begin to understand walking into a job everyday where you wait on people hand and foot, can weigh on a person's psyche when they forgot why they got into this business anyway. I began to see the glimmer of my hopes turn into comfortable numbers and I started to settle in quite nicely. I gained clientele left and right. I felt this desire to learn more and to begin to see hair as an art form that could continually get better between my haircut and the customer learning from me on how to style her hair. I knew the ones who said all the right things to my face but had no intentions of doing a darn thing to that hair before work. Ponytail was some of these girl's middle names most Mondays through Fridays. Until that weekend hit, and they became Master Divas before going out to get bought up by the closest bidder. Things really started to fall into place, not just at work but I was also getting more comfortable with everything between Subway guy and I- we were learning more about one another. I decided the best time to go workout would be after work cause this chubby tail was going to get in shape and not be like the rest of my family. I guess now is as good a time as ever to tell you that food is an addiction in my family. GASP! It's okay, it's better to know than to hide from it. I knew that I had issues with it as well, we are getting to the part in the story where that begins to take a change. My mother and father unfortunately got married very young without truly understanding how to deal with stress so they ate. Not that I knew why back then, I just thought they should, STOP EATING THEIR BRAINS OUT AT NIGHT IN FRONT OF THE TV! As harsh as that sounds, if you were 18 once, you need to try and remember how your brain was mostly mush and intense "I am big enough" idiocy. I get it, but that kind of empathy wasn't going to help me NOT become them. This would have been fine if my over protective controlling christian on Sundays parents didn't decide to tighten the leash after high school and want me home by 10:00 pm. SAAaaaay WHhhhaat? I know right?! What am I? a baby? Well it was what it felt like at the time, only because my choices when I walked through the front door was to watch Star Trek the 19,000th generation my father was addicted to, or clean up the kitchen because my mother was in one of her "I can't handle my life" episodes again. I knew I would over eat, sit on my azz, do nothing but watch tv AANNDD my azz......over time. I had to get out, or rather just not go home. So that is exactly what I did. I just decided I was going to do the exact opposite of everything they were doing, because what ever they did to get to wherever they were was not something I was ever going to be a part of. No matter what you think of me now or then, you can't really truly connect to what I was going through unless you try to connect to her..the 18 yr. old version of me. She's not bad, but she was desperate to not destroy her life before it had begun. This will all make more sense to you when you find out some few key elements about my life that will shed light on this control subject. I had gone to counseling at the age of 16 to find out more about why I felt disconnected to my life. Oddly enough my mother sent me on the hope that this counselor would find something wrong with me and fix everything before she sent me back to the house, so she didn't have to deal with me. Ha! I was sent on the premise that things had not worked out with relationships/friendships at church for any of us really, but I seemed to be the only one interested in finding out what was plaguing our home. Everyone in my house seemed aloof that we all could not continue on this journey before we became weebles that sway from side to side but go nowhere in life. We didn't seem to want to address any communication issues we had with people. Especially if it had anything to do with people at church, we dare not say the truth out-loud or be accountable for causing as much trouble because we didn't know how to be transparent either!!!! GOSH! Say that ten times! I had no idea at the age of 16 I would be given direction to put boundaries up on toxic behavior even if it was coming from my family. I know , I know that doesn't mean disobeying the curfew, I didn't say I always executed the best of choices, but it felt good to push back against the control and manipulation my parents poured out on me. They had met their match, through their own child no less. Like I said I had begun a journey with a counselor who became my best kept secret because everyone conveniently believed that counseling meant you were broken, so no one in my house but me went. I had waited for this moment of independence for two long years, I wasn't going to go down easily. I had been given wonderful instruction how to keep my mouth shut and to try not to push my parents too much because I was in their control at this vile age of 16. Little did my parents know that visit after visit had begun to increase my chances for survival among this awkward group. I had learned my personality operates at a level 10 from the time I get out of bed til I get back in it. I desire communication above all things, words, and talking them through on every subject in the world especially those relevant to my day, or week. I was starving for that at home. At a certain point past puberty my parents couldn't relate out loud to me anymore. They would have revealed things about their own childhood, lives that were to painful and damaging that even they dare not dig at those scars. My counselor warned me not to rock the boat but to take me down a notch. I hated the idea from day one to pretend I was someone less than who God designed me to be. I was sick and tired of the leadership not LEADING THAT I COULD SPIT! Sooooooo, I guess that leads us right back to where I started with pushing back on the curfew agenda that have been so preciously bestowed upon me. To get right to the point, I just didn't go home. I found it very easy to be done with work and to just NOT drive home but rather to the gym. The whole ride there I embraced the bad azz side of me knowing full well, 10:00 pm was going to come and go. Heck, 10:30 pm was going to come and go...Most of the time I was going to see the backside of 11 before I walked through that door. I got away with it for awhile, but they caught on that they never really saw me. DUH! That was the purpose. I got better and better at being at work from sun up to sun down, and even on weekends just staying at work and then hitting up the gym. It wasn't too long that Sunday afternoons I would walk in to the house and get the cold shoulder from my mother who always thought I was up to no good. I hated how she always assumed I was getting into trouble, where the heck was she getting her information? How could I keep a full-time job and get into trouble at the same time? Who the heck was your daughter anyway and how did I become a mobster since high school? GEESH!!!! My mother suffers from the proverbial pessimism that I call "Jaded" or "Psycho". Take your pick. But back then it was just plain crazy to me to continually think someone is in trouble when there are no signs of it. It wasn't anything that 18 almost 19 yr. old's don't deal with. I wasn't drinking, smoking, boozing, sexing, or rockin' & rollin'. So I was given a warning. Don't quote me on this one, but I'm pretty sure I mouthed back or gave some kind of crass whatever answer to my parents but nothing can prepare you for the day I came home and was given the ultimatum. I can recall that day like it was yesterday. I was dreading coming home this Saturday anyway because I figured I couldn't avoid them any longer. What were the chances they would be in bed by 5 pm on a Saturday? Not a good one considering I could see their judgy eyes from the driveway. I knew I was going to get something when I walked through that door and I was going to hate it, but I wasn't going to run from it. I opened the door to the house and my family sat to the right in the dining room like their was a meeting of the local government to talk about bad apples in the bunch. That bad apple was me. I sat down as my father began to ask me question after question about why I wasn't meeting my curfew and how I was openly sinning (gosh I love those ridiculous one liners self righteous Christians use) completely disobeying and he had had enough of it. He said then and there" If you can't abide by the rules in this house, your out". I would make him live to eat those words.............this isn't over.

Friday, January 8, 2016

"The Wonder Years"

You need a proper introduction to my first lady....aka..."the boss". She was dear to me, still is. Hired "this girl" on a couple of photos that I look back on now and would have walked my butt right back out the door. So long sassy pants! Good luck with an ever changing industry!!!!(no sarcasm here) Not her, she saw something in me that I had never had anyone admit they had seen. One can only guess that "IF" (and we're going on a strong "IF") my parents had any clue as to who I was or who I could become, they weren't letting on. If I'm honest with myself, I don't recall a time where there was ever a true United Front as a family. Beauty School sounded so much more glamorous than I ever looked at that age (lets be honest), and becoming a stylist just sounded far fetched coming from our family tree line-up.....I'm one generation away from farmers if ya know what I mean. But not her, she saw a glimmer in me that gave me new hope to change my life. Her name was something that just sounded like a movie star, or the daughter of a president. She tried to prepare me for what was to come next, meeting her co-partner in crime. So begins the next 7 years of my life. Definitely the most exciting years of my life, but also some of the most painful as well. Having two boss's to answer to isn't the easiest thing to do. It didn't take me long to figure out who was really in charge and who just paid attention to all the details. Geesh! Whether it was my parents or my boss's, I was surrounded by it day and night. I wanted the world to morph into something different then it was but how was I going to make changes in my life when I had people at work who didn't have an outlet for stress and neither did my home life? I figured I would drown my sorrows in a shopping spree to the mall everyday and find comfort in a new outfit. I had begun to see changes in my body and needed a new blouse to make sure I didn't get discouraged from waking up early to box it out with Billl-ay in the morning!! Who would've of thunk it that I would run back into a good friend from high school at the swankiest shopping spot in the mall?! New York & Company had hired this good looking lean thang to come work with a great group of young hot females. I was jealous.....not so much the pay cause this hot momma was just starting to see those pay checks go up, but it looked like these ladies were having so much fun. Ok, ok, ok, I really thought that she was a much better candidate for getting a boyfriend! Look 18 is young, but I was so not. ha! I decided to go about 4 nights a week to see her and would just walk through the halls till she got off work and we'd hang out thinking about our life and how things were just going to be amazing as we got older. She had decided not to go to college but to start working instead! She was full of energy and looking totally in charge of where she was going! I began to visit the food court often to get dinner at night. You know this chubby stylist was in the Subway line counting calories and becoming the next Jared Fogle. That's when I saw him.....I should have known this would be the beginning of a dangerous ride but who cares right?! I am young! Who's him you ask? Just the owner of the place, I didn't know that at the time, but I was aware there was a significant age difference. I didn't have to say anything to anyone, they knew. I stood in line forever trying to decide which 250 calorie sub I was going to shove in my face the moment I was out of sight. I didn't think my sweet girlfriend down stairs in NY&C would mind me having 2 reasons to come visit! Late one evening as the mall was getting ready to close down I walked upstairs to the food court waiting for my friend to get off work. This night was different than most nights because "He" was there closing down all by himself. I was never more nervous to order my usual Diet Coke (I've since banned the stuff from my life- sober 14 years now). He was on to me. He looked right at me and asked me why I always come to his line to get a Diet Coke when most of the vendors there sold them? This was one of those times I can't even believe I let the words come out of my mouth. I answered back "because I like you" the look of shock on his face was scaring the crap out of me, but he finally chuckled and said "he figured, but wasn't sure". Nothing else was said while he closed down the whole place, we just talked chit chat til it was literally time to go. He asked me to walk to his car with him, which must have made me make one heck of a face, because he quickly said "No funny business, just need help to take all these flowers to the car". It was his birthday and his coworkers and sponsor for his franchise had dropped off flowers to him. He had quite the green house by the end of the day. What harm could there be for helping with flowers right? I called my friend "hot stuff" (lets call her that for now) downstairs to let her know we were going to have to hangout later. Noticed I didn't say text?! 16 years ago it wasn't cool to text yet! I'm clearly getting old. She warned me to be careful but wanted total details from me asap when I got in my car!! Girls! and our details. I was still starving, but needed no sustenance to carry my body outside to his car. I helped put his flowers in his car and we were still chatting. He paused and then carefully asked me if I needed a ride to my car? I said I better not, but he knew more about the riff raff around the mall then I did and insisted. So I got in, and we came around front to my car. It looked so lonely sitting in a spot all by itself now. He pulled up right beside it and we kept on talking. I know now how our little fling ended up starting was all because he would talk to me. My need for words then is the same now and to see the world around me through other peoples eyes. I longed for conversation about different walks of life and he was giving it to me, not to mention, I just wanted for somebody to notice me. Me. It seemed like hours had gone by but really about 45 min was more like it. I hopped out of the car and began to say goodbye to him. He stopped me and said, I would have asked for your number, but I fear our age difference will make for a problem. I turned to look at him, and said "I understand, we can just be friends". I think we both knew we liked one another, but no real clues had been dropped. Just that I was bound to end up at the mall again, he knew hot stuff worked down stairs. Life at this point began to move very quickly. Hot stuff had decided Billy Blanks wasn't cutting it anymore in the basement, and I had to agree with her. I could never get a free tv when I was home at night to workout, so I was starting to agree with her on needing something outside of our own homes. No one will ever laugh harder over the conversation we had about going to the local meat market gym. She had heard now is the time to join and everyone who is everyone goes there. Oh yeah well sign us up.....1 Hot stuff and 1 Highlighted chubbo coming up! Not to mention she wanted our friend from high school to come with us. I was beginning to pick up on the fact she had a crush on him. So the 3 amigos went down the street to a neighborhood I thought my eyes would never see and pulled into a parking lot where I was almost sure we were going to get shot. Now let's set the scene....you've got 2 girls, both tall, not in the best of shape dragging their guy friend into a gym on one of it's busiest nights, WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT WE WERE IN FOR. When we finally found a parking space, we slowly got out of the car like it was the last meal kinda thing. We walk through the one set of double doors, and I can begin to see arms rippling and dripping with sweat(unless the extinguishers had recently been on). I began to feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up like they were saluting those beautiful biceps of greatness I had just spied. I opened the next set of doors as our friend groaned he wasn't going to like it here, and Hot stuff was beginning to think I was right maybe we were in over our heads. I shoved her butt on through those doors like it was on fire. She did not know I was having a change of heart, but we would go over that later. "Hello" was all I heard....Hot stuff had us signed up like a pro. I, on the other hand, was taking it all in......I had looked around and taken a few deep breaths and realized I was home. There are some people who just can't go to gyms and get into a routine for health benefits, and then there's people like me where once you walk through that door there's no going back. I had found my people. They were raw, intense, a little odd at times, but I loved it. I turned around to give Hot stuff the biggest hug of our relationship. She said "what the heck was that for"? I said I love you for talking me into this, I'm gonna love it here. She shook her head and said "that was a big change from the car til now"! Between all the blood, sweat, and tears there was this undertone of sex that I was going to discover. I had opened the door to exploring the tension between my (well you get the drift) Treadmill anyone?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Picking up where I left off.......

I don't think anyone our age (17) knows exactly what they want to do with their lives, but no one is given the choice to take a breather and figure things out. Hey, if you lived in one of those houses where everybody was allowed to be a real human being and take all things into account and figure things out as you go, GREAT! The rest of the world is in a pipe dream called "keep going you don't want to stay in this place anyway" mentality. It's mentally numbing to someone like me to watch people like "Decade Drones" (whatever decade they are in they mope through the motions of what most of society is doing at the time) WAKE UP! It doesn't pan out for all people, but I was one of the lucky ones who knew what I wasn't going to do, and took a chance, I mean a huge chance on Beauty School. I did not fit in, I don't know that I really fit in anywhere?! I had decided somewhere between gym class in high school where I had farted during sit-ups in fitness test, being weighed in front of the hottest guy in gym at the time, Travis W. that if total humiliation didn't kill my spirit, that I could do just about ANYTHING I put mind to. I had this uncanny ability to know if things didn't work out, that I would be okay, because I could at least say that I tried.......I know now it's my faith that gets me through things like that. Back then it was this ultra naive youth thing I had going on. Nothing could get me down no matter what my new beauty school classmates did to trip me up. Gosh, if I wasn't the heavy girl in high school who blossomed late with her period, I was the chubby virgin who had never met a real homosexual in her life (no disrespect):) Not only did my teacher have her hands full because I was the only minor, but I wasn't equipped to be in a class with so many walks of life and understand where God was in all of it, and what my future looked like down the road. It didn't take me long to love learning new ways of doing my hair and to have color and highlights bring attention to my chubby cheeks like never before. I was going under the knife you could say and slicing off that old Laura who hadn't been around women and men who embodied sex, desire, or self worth through the way we dressed or carried ourselves. It was intoxicating to think that one day I would be standing tall(and skinny, way skinny) and empowering anyone who sat in MY chair to see themselves as the MOST important person to love in their lives. Okay, I've stated some alluring words in the last couple of sentences that I'm sure have you questioning my intentions or my Christianity. Let me tell you as clearly as I can, this is why the world is struggling so much. I shouldn't as a young woman have desired or yearned so badly for attention to detail in how I presented myself to the world. I shouldn't as a young woman have wanted to understand my potential to become a sexually desired piece of hotness. I didn't have parents who understood sex and all that comes with it. I didn't have parents that could even begin to see what I was or how men would desire me , or how I longed to be beautiful and wanted to be wanted. Well, so does the rest of the world. You think I am talking about ONLY myself, Oh no. I'm talking about everyone. We were searching for self worth and acceptance and value and dreaming about if we could find it there.....I will never forget how many times I was asked questions about my faith while I was there in school. People yearned to understand the environment I had been designed in. They couldn't understand my personality or why I was choosing this over another career. I remember day after day after day as I sat in the lunch room and talked to all the older classmates about why they were here doing hair and nails. They got a glazed over look in their eyes as they looked off into space to somehow find their answer in the abyss above their heads. It was their last hope, or hurrah! I, on the other hand, had picked it to be my first achievement, my catalyst, my opus.....which ever came first. I never realized how calm I had stayed although I was pegged for the odd ball in school. I do very well in chaotic surroundings, although I much prefer for people to have their shit together. While I was in school I also had a job as the youngest manager of a Fashion Bug retail store in Hershey. They were like a high end "HILLS", the closest thing to Beverly Hills I was going to get on this girls budget! I knew I loved people back then. I would just wait to hear the door ring to let me know a customer had come in, and she was going to need my help to see her full potential in that dress or pair of shoes. I loved telling people they looked great, or look forward to repeat customers to check in on them and see how they were doing. God has created something in community that I just absolutely love. "RELATION" I put myself in each person's shoes and tried to think how I would want to be seen or treated when I walked through those doors. I think God used humor, because whether I was at beauty school or work, I (the chubby, now highlighted, soon-to-be-stylist) was surrounded by mirrors. I have been looking directly into them for over 17 years, and there is so much more to be seen by how people sit in my chair to have their hair cut before I put the cape on. I saw them then looking past it as they walked into their dressing room to hide away from the world inside that horrible box that showed them the true size of their azz. I was never going to help them find the perfect dress, or give them the perfect haircut. I was going to give them Jesus. I had made up my mind years ago that without a true understanding of why we do what we do down here, we are merely surviving. Honestly, that's just not good enough for me. I want to thrive, and that is what I set out to do. I knew graduation for my Cosmetology License was around the corner and didn't have anyone to take but my mother. We are not two of the "vibe-iest" people on the planet, but I do think that is when I learn more about myself than in any other situation. I believe if we will start to see what we can achieve when the stakes are high and the place, timing and people are putting us on edge we can become something greater than we might ever have achieved. Yes! I passed. I can't say much for the guy beside me who cut himself and started to bleed all over his model, while wrapped in the cotton meant for his perm section. Trainwrecked himself that day. For 17 years I have seen many of the wrong kind of people strive to become a stylist- someone who not only touches others, but has to lead them to find the person they are inside to become a reflection on the outside. I can say that being a stylist for me is NOT the hair part at all, it was always about the hearts. Not everyone that has sat in my chair would allow that or did I want to change. That was the journey for me. I am so grateful for every foul, ignorant client that ever did sit with me. I have been able to see in all walks of life that without Jesus we are nothing. It hasn't mattered how much money people have, what they look like, what their age is, who they are married to, how many kids they have, who their family is, if they are successful, I could go on for days! IT DOESN'T MATTER. They all become drone like miserable jelly like forms of themselves walking around hoping to win the lottery or get a tape worm. (that last one was me) Whatever the sick drudgery is, I totally get it. I look back over my life and wonder how I got through those first few weeks in the salon that hired me. I had no clue how intense giving someone a haircut could be. No one can prepare an 18 year old girl who has never even looked at herself naked in the mirror how to help these people deal with the total spiritual warfare they've got going on. I knew I didn't always like where I was in my personal life, but "Dang! Your going to need more than a trim today!" I have been surrounded by God's grace since entering this career. My first boss was put in my path to be a mentor & friend, not to mention my BOSS. ha! She never let me just work without helping me understand every aspect of time and how to get clients to re-book. I needed her most when things in my life took a turn for what most people would have collapsed under. Back then my character was challenged, and this spitfire Viking Princess, twirling her flail, screamed "CHALLENGE ACCEPTED"! When I am put to the test to stand up for my own self worth, it is in that moment that I realized that I was on a journey to embody self worth.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Introduction: The Beginning

Hello! Welcome to my life on paper, eerrr...cyber space! I'm definitely in a territory that I've never explored before. I have talked for years, threatened really, to write a book! There is so much that can happen on a daily basis working in salons, that unless you are stuck with us for hours, one will just never know the kind of full on crazy that walks through the doors! So I've coined the term "I'm putting that in my book". Oddly enough I have a title, whether or not I will ever share this prized title with anyone will all depend on how "THIS" goes! Ha! No pressure at all on this seasoned stylist. I better just start at the beginning of the story since we have to set the stage for this very unlikely pairing of the beauty industry and myself. I grew up in a conservative Christian family in a suburban neighborhood like any normal, middle class, blue collar child. Unlike other girls I was super outgoing and loved people, I love to hear people laugh and carry on. I was average height in an un-average weight class....you got it, FAT. We don't have to go into much detail to know my entire elementary school years I was the last one picked for any soccer team in gym. It didn't get any easier as I mentioned before I was super outgoing and just had to make people laugh. I've always loved using humor to relate to people, and find it almost necessary to use when talking about all the "NO -NO" subjects I hope to delve into on here! It's anybody's game in school to make your mark in the class hierarchy before they determine that for you. I was going to be the girl last picked for any group activity and the first to be picked on for any group activity. Great start to the story I know but it gets better! As God would have it planned out, I have always enjoyed the deep life lessons one can learn from looking back into my past. Those years were the most delicate of years when I had been neglected in my home or family life and then sent to school to get attention, but none of it was healthy or what any sane person would want. I never backed down from not being the most popular, I used my known fat funny girl theme(years before Rebel Wilson made it cool) to make my voice be heard. Whether I was at school or youth group I made it known I could hold my own and wanted to be a part of the group. At the time I had obviously noticed that being over weight wasn't just in MY water, but it didn't seem to phase people the same way it did to me. So I graduated from 5th grade knowing I wasn't like other people, to my acknowledgement it wasn't a priority to help me figure out just what was it that set me apart. Jr High created a huge melting pot of hormones just waiting to figure out how the slicing and dicing of popularity(not to mention your parents status, or natural good looks or the lack thereof) would affect your everyday walk through the halls. I've been 'oinked, and mooed" at one too many times, and praise the Lord himself I am out of that phase in my life! As I sit here listening to my fingers tap the keys, I feel so desperate to get all that gut wrenching feeling down and how it affected "ME" as a young girl. What it did to my self esteem, and my self worth, what it did to my personality(added anxiety is what it did). This is the line in my life that I remember so clearly pushing me down a road of unwanted addictions to find balance (where there was none), to find control and value (where there was none), and last but certainly NOT least to find Laura the real girl under all that crap life had laid out for me. Don't get me wrong, I had all of life's hardcore necessities- parents (who do not understand me at all), clothing (all forms of hideous torture I was forced to be seen in), food (too much of that I've already stated I was FAT), siblings (to which I am not sure we will ever get along), and church family(where my faith began & all my topics will eventually lead back to). In families like mine, it wasn't like my parents set out to destroy my life. I think we all know that they work with what they've got. It didn't take me long to understand the lack of communication was right around the corner with my grandparents and aunts and uncles. It didn't matter which side of the family you looked on, I realized that they are all so ashamed of just about everything, from their looks, their past mistakes, their career paths, their sibling's mistakes...blah blah blah! We get the idea their whole existence. I could never figure out why no one would sit them down, one by one, or Hell! the whole group and set the record straight! You are loved by a God most high that he would send his son to die for you, because he wants to live with you in Heaven one day! He created you with a total purpose and doesn't want you moping about burying your talents. That surreal family tree has never existed and is a distant dream at this point. Word on the street is it's currently up in flames- rumor has it I lit the match. I knew back then that we were missing the whole point for this beautiful, messy, often complicated, human life. I love HUMANS, but we are some of the craziest top of the food chain that ever did get created! I sit a lot with God, mostly aloud in my head, for anyone who doesn't know me, that isn't an understatement. I'm quite the talker (97% extroverted). I began to ask him why I could understand this silent treatment approach to topics which doesn't help people feel seen, valued, heard, wanted, counted, or a part of something greater, yet it continued to be all around me. I didn't struggle per say in school with grades, I could have totally worked harder, but I have a personality that can get by with just enough. I wasn't mentored to be more than or push through to reveal true strengths and weakness's. I knew it was because my parents had never had anyone take any kind of time to sit with them and mentor the best they had to offer. Much to their surprise my parents made it farther than most had expected. I knew college wasn't for me. The interaction yes but the extra schooling no....it wouldn't be long before I realized I had made the right choice for me. I made it through graduation easily, still being heavy(chubby now, I had started working out with Billy Blanks in Tae-Bo baby!) I had thought about going to beauty school to do hair/nails/makeup while I was in High School. Go ahead and laugh I know it sounds crazy, the picked on fat girl who thinks she's funny is going to make people beautiful! Lol! Well, the first part of that, I was hoping I would lose her through the process of finding out how to do this "make people feel beautiful" stuff. The second part about making others feel beautiful I knew I could do. I knew if I could get my hands on someone and show them just what they could be or look like on any given day, I just knew I could make a difference in someone's life, and hopefully touch my own while I was at it.......