Changed My Life ~ Forever
How many of you out there are afraid to do something on your own? ALONE!
If you said yes, I want you to know that I used to be just like you and then I made a choice for change.
A long time ago, I lived with a person who was an alcoholic and a bully and if that wasn't bad enough, I also had a controlling, cheating, butt-f**ck of a boyfriend. So if you can imagine, I was totally lost and my brain was drowning in fear, disbelief and sadness.
I actually had 2 roommates which turned into 5 roommates (a topic for another newsletter) and I lived in a shitty area of Toronto.
I needed help and there was no one to trust or that I could go to. In times like these I learned over the years that, in fact, I did have people; authors. Being an only child I learned that through books I could find answers. Lets remember that this was long before internet so books, be it libraries (which I have never been able to make friends with) or book stores became my go to. I found help, and therefor friends, in books.
In this particular case, I had been in a very bad place for too long and I didn't quite know how I got there except that I was in love with a jerk. At every turn this guy beat me up in my brain. I had no bruises to show, but if you could have analyzed my brain, you would have seen it was a black and blue mess of mush. To this day I don't know what the hell happened because I am a really strong female and I don't put up with shit from anyone. But somehow, he got me. Snared me like a rabbit trapped in a cage and I just couldn't find my way out.
The roommate situation was different. I couldn't afford the apartment on my own and this chic was a scary, psychopathic drunk. I just wanted to have my little space to sleep and live a peaceful life but my roommates (yes, plural) were not having it... especially the one drunk psycho.
There's a breaking point where you just can't take it any more and for me I was there. I was right on that edge of "If one more thing happens I might do something I'm going to regret!"
So I went to find a friend at the local bookstore. And there she was, SARK. The book "Succulent Wild Woman" was life changing for me. I learned to dance with my wonderful self just as the book title suggests.
The book was colourfully written in all directions and it broke all the rules of what a self help book usually looks like. I began reading it immediately, like, in the store, and couldn't put it down. I did however have to slow myself down to actually try the lessons she was suggesting.
Simple things that included a section focus of "If you love flowers and your special people in your life don't buy them for you, what are you waiting for? What are you blaming them for? Buy them for yourself!" You know what? I did! I went and bought flowers for my salon station every week! For myself!
Just taking control of that one thing in my life, that tiny little thing, began to snowball. I started to get stronger. I had started a SpARK (you notice the authors name is just one letter shy of this word). Once that fire was lit, there was no way I was going to let it get snuffed out again!
It changed my life... forever!
I started a Journal called "MY FIRST TIME" and I made a deal with myself that I had to do one NEW thing every week and journal about it. I did this for one full year.
It could be as easy as trying a new food that I had never tried before, but I had to do it alone. Just me and that food. No influences on how it tasted or if "we" liked it. This experience had to be all about me.
You know what? It was really, really hard. I was surprised to see just how damaged my brain had gotten. I wasn't even able to form an opinion of something on my own. I had been programmed for years to look to the jerk or the psycho to see what they thought before I formed my own opinion of anything. I mean, I didn't want to start a fight. Gosh, I truly hate fighting. It's a damaged part of me from my childhood and listening to my parents fight, until they finally got divorced. I just can't deal with it.
So, I kept doing it and doing it and eventually, throughout the year it began to get better and easier and I learned what I liked or did not like. I had my own opinion. YES!
On this particular night I had made plans with the psycho to go to High Park in Toronto to see Shakespeare in the Park as they were performing "A Midsummer's Night Dream" (my favorite). I had planned this with her weeks ahead.
Why was I going with her? you might ask.
Well, I was also still at the stage in my life where I needed to help people. Plus I used to come home with her passed out on her bed with a room full of candelabras lit and wax dripping on the floor and her fully passed out. I did not want my apartment and my stuff, along with my "friend" to burn down. So, I had asked her to join me in hopes of also healing our friendship. She had agreed to join me.
I arrived home, Friday night, after a long day at the Salon. I was so excited to be going to this outdoor play and as soon as I walked in the door my heart began to race. I could see the magnum of wine on the counter of the kitchen and I could hear the music playing from her room.
"Oh shit." I thought. She's drunk. "Hiya" I yelled. I started to walk to her room and there she was dancing around with her negligee on, hands in the air like a fairy, eyes closed.
"You going to be ready to go soon?" I said
"GO? Go where?" she replied
"To the play at High Park" I said
"We're not going to any play" she said "I'm dancing."
By this point my heart was racing and I knew we were on the edge of a huge fight. She used to chase me down the hall and I would barely make it into my room, lock my bedroom door with her soon thereafter, banging on it screaming profanities at me. It had happened several times in the past.
I was so upset. I really wanted to see this play and had been talking about this night out for weeks. She did this on purpose. She wanted to control me and was not going to let me be happy.
Instead of challenging her on this, I simply said "oh darn. I was really looking forward to this night with you." Her reply was what made me angry and stronger than I had been in years. "Well too bad! We're not going!"
I was so angry, I could feel my blood boiling. I simply said "Okay, maybe another time." and walked to my room and locked my door. I sat on the edge of my bed and cried for 10 minutes. Then I saw the book! I remembered the journal. I heard her controlling words. I was so frightened for what I was about to do... I was going ALONE! This would be my journal entry for this week!
I got dressed, grabbed my purse and had to figure out how to take the city transit to the play. As I was trying to sneak out of the apartment she yelled "Where the hell do you think you're going?"
"To the play." I said "Have a great night!" I slammed the door and ran down the flights of stairs and out to the bus stop.
It was a fairly long trip, at least it was ALONE. But you know what? I made it there! I stood in this long line of people. I had barely made it on time. I could see the people sitting on the hillside and the stage was alight. There was a family of 5 in front of me and when they got up to the place where you paid a "donation" the guy said "I'm so sorry but we have no space left tonight!"
WHAT? No space! OMG! I came all this way and got my courage up and now there was no space all because I allowed myself to be upset and got so far behind. What the hell was I going to do now? If I went straight home she would know that I did not see the play and she would for sure laugh at me and make me feel like a total fool. My mind was racing.
Just as I was about to turn around to leave, catch a buss to somewhere other than home, the guy at the "ticket booth" said "Excuse me Miss, are you hear ALONE?"
I was already nervous and hesitated to answer but I said "Yes, I, I am. I heard you say it is a sold out performance though."
He replied "We don't have room for 5 but I am sure a tiny thing like you can squeeze in with someone else."
"Seriously?" I said 'OMG! That's awesome!" I replied. I gave him a $20 bill and started my way in.
I found a girl who seemed to be on her own, sitting on the grass. I had a blanket with me! "You ALONE?" I asked "I have a blanket and we can share if you don't mind to share your space?"
And that my friends was the beginning of one of the most magical nights of my entire life. This person and I shared my blanket and she bought me a pop. We watched this most incredible performance of A Midsummer's Night Dream with fairies and woodland creatures, twinkling lights and a truly amazing summer evening with just the softest of breezes and trees rustling gently overhead. It was the turning point of my getting myself back!
It still took some years to get out of the bad relationships but I did and continued to grow and became the Wonder Woman I am today.
I hope you take chances and try doing things ALONE and often!
I hope you grow and allow yourself to have an opinion and are brave enough to state it no matter what anyone else feels about it.
Wash your hands and don't touch your face
I hope you stand up for yourself and the things you believe in
Stand up for indigenous people, Black Lives Matter and any other thing you might need to let the world know you don't agree with... do it safely and plan ahead.
If you go somewhere on your own, let at least 2 people know where you will be and when you should be home. Give them information on the route you plan to take too.
Wishing you a Happy New Year and have a wonderful Monday and the rest of your week, until next "Memoirs of a Hairdresser"...