This quarantine, corona lockdown, covid-19 pandemic has really done a number on each and every one of us. It has affected us all in one way shape or form- whether you know someone who tested positive, died, are a small business owner struggling to stay afloat, an essential worker, a parent trying to balancing working remotely and being a stay-at-home-with-the-kids-every-god-damn-day home school teacher, or you live alone and the self isolation has taken a toll on your mental health. It has really shown us that each and every one of us have valid feelings and emotions and are entitled to our own individual opinions on the topic at hand. At the beginning of all of this, we came together as a whole. We supported each other by dressing our windows with signs and hearts, we held video meetups just to check-in with friends, and we ordered food from local mom & pops. The news was promising. The longer this goes on though, we have seen people fall into complacency, fall deeper into the hole of depression, give up their will, drive, and passion, and become full of rage and hateful. The news has become desolate, skewed, and at times, unbelievable. We understand all of your feelings, we have them too. We are trying desperately to hold onto hope and to our passion for people and to the creativity and validity of our craft. We wake up everyday hoping we feel even in the slightest bit happy and hopeful. We are blessed to be healthy, safe, & alive but it is getting harder and harder not to feel overwhelmed with sadness.
Here at Live Salon, we made a promise to you to always stay transparent with you. We know that it is immensely important right now when we feel slighted by those in power who have not readily been so. We want to tell you our stories through this pandemic... especially Owner & Master Stylist, Amanda's. Perhaps this will make you feel not-so-alone in knowing that she too is struggling each day but is still trying to find the strength and perseverance to overcome.
Before the US even remotely said anything to us about this pandemic, my boyfriend, Torrey, kept up with China's happenings via news stories and YouTube videos. I laughed at him as he began "dooms day" prepping- buying lightbulbs, batteries, stockpiles of band aids, containers of peanut butter, and more random "necessities". But then all of a sudden, I followed suit. I don't know if it was because he was doing it or that my own fear developed. Here I was standing in line at the beyond-busy grocery store feeling anxiety. I had never seen anything like it. I have come to refer it to a cross between Supermarket Sweep, Black Friday, & The Hunger Games. I watched a lady shove 10 jars of spaghetti sauce in her cart. I didn't need 10 jars, but here I was shoving them right in my cart. Shit, I lifted the whole damn box in. At the time, we didn't need anything really but the surrounding panic made me believe in the fear and threw whatever I could into my grocery cart. Of course I went to the Wine & Spirits store next. Lord knows I like wine but again, here I was in line with an entire shopping cart of wine and liquor worth over $500. Why, Amanda? The world was ending.
With this pandemonium going on, I do not know why it never dawned on me that my business may shut down. Maybe my head was too busy thinking of how many Dorito bags I may need to "get us through". The week it was announced that we were urged to shut down, my stomach sank, I cried on the regular, and I was not necessarily a pleasant person to be around. How am I going to do this? How am I going to rearrange 4 stylists schedules? Are my clients going to be okay with this? I couldn't do it. With it only being suggested, I made the decision to remain open that week with only one other stylist and minimal clients in the salon. But then came that glaring Friday in which it became mandated. I sat at the desk with Jalynn and a bottle of wine for 2 hours after our shift calling all of our clients for only the next two weeks. It couldn't last much longer than that, right? But even thinking that, I sat there crying hysterically. It felt like taps should have been playing. I could potentially be watching the death of my business happen. It was the saddest and scariest day walking out of the salon and locking it, not knowing when we were to return.
Two weeks, that's all. I started to breathe a little. Fortunately, we got a ton of things at the house accomplished. I think all of us have done some sort of home improvement project to occupy our time. I started to enjoy the time I had with my family. I felt okay with the fact that maybe this forced me to take a much needed break and to reevaluate what was truly important to me.
Two weeks passed. Home school started. Crappy weather and being cooped up in the house with the same faces did not help the situation either. It became not-so-lovely afterall.
Let me back up for a second. Many of you know I now have two kids, ages 4 and 7, who are not biologically mine but mine to say the least. It was a struggle finding my place within this new-found family already and at times, it still is. It used to be hard just being with them all day as a whole on Sundays. I was used to working all the time and perhaps seeing them for a few hours before bedtime or in the mornings. It was hard becoming a parent even then. However, I started getting the swing of things. The relationship between me and the kids started to bloom. I started wanting to adjust my schedule to have more family time. My salon was lucrative enough to do so, too. And then this happened...
It was like The Universe said, "Oh, you think you got this? Ha! Let's try putting you in quarantine with them 24/7 and wait, homeschool them too." Cruel. It is not easy! It is not easy seeing the same 2 little faces fighting, arguing, and tattling, acting like fools, testing boundaries, and not easily cooperating in school work. Carry the god damn 1 people! And trying to explain to them why they have to be cooped up with their little brother or big sister only is no easy task. Trying to reason with them was never going to happen.
I had to become a "mom" real fast. For those of you who know me, I do not half-ass anything. In fact, I normally go balls-to-the-wall when I make a decision to do something. I stepped up, sure. But don't think that because I accepted my newfound rule that it made this "new normal" any easier.
Balance. What's that? Each and every one of us fervently look for this. It is like an elusive animal out there only few have found and mastered. Right now, that animal has kicked me, bit me, threw me off of it, and took a huge poo right on my head. Not being able to find my balance is the hardest thing that this lockdown has brought on.
My life is like that though. Right when I find my footing, The Unverse cuts me off at the knees.
Right now, I am trying to balance:
1. Kids (3 meals a day, cleaning up after them, playing with them as they are kids who are up your butt, shower & bed times, oh! and school. If I have to Google one more thing to teach a 1st grader, so help me God.)
2. Salon being shut down (I have 3 employees who depend on me, I have 1000 clients who need us, rescheduling weeks and then a month worth of appointments, staying relevant and proactive on social media forums with content and videos, sending out mass emails and texts with numerous updates and change-of-plans, cleaning and disinfecting (it is like a scavenger hunt for the proper PPE), making sense of the ever-changing rules of the loans and grants and unemployment compensation, and simply stressing the f out)
3. My relationship (parenting together, losing the sense of "us", no alone time, no date nights, being too tired for anything, barely speaking, fighting, lack of communication and/or empathy)
4. Feeling alone (living in a house with 3 other people and 3 cats and I still feel alone)
5.The emotions the government has made me feel (talk about PTSD that I will talk more on)
None of this shit is for the faint of heart. I like to think of myself as a tough cookie and girl, if you aren't I feel for you. I'm losing my mind. I am here for you. I may not be a hugger and we are supposed to be social distancing, but screw it. I would hug you.
I have had several breakdowns in which even I do not know how to handle let alone Torrey try to comfort me. It is week 9 going on 10 of this pandemic shut down as I write this. I do not know how much more I can take. I do not know how much more any of us can take.
I got the government telling me I am essentially last to be picked for the dodgeball team, the bottom of the totem pole, and pretty much the scum of the Earth. I grew up hearing that I wouldn't amount to much. How would I make a living just doing hair? Why couldn't I go to real college? Talk about full-blown PTSD right now. I am a licensed professional with a successful salon after only 3 years of being open but that doesn't matter. Being called non-essential is horrible verbiage to hear. Shame on you government for kicking us when we are down. I have clients who would beg to differ. I am state licensed in sanitation, sterilization, and minimizing the transfer of communicable diseases. But that too, doesn't matter. We can pile into Walmart and other big box stores and touch every single cereal box but I am labeled unsafe, non-essential, and definitely not life-sustaining. That is one tough pill to swallow.
The help the government was supposed to give us small businesses and self employed workers is non existent, another elusive animal only few have found, and messy, confusing, and needless to say, living in a broken system. I just want to work. I just want to be that mesely hairdresser making pennies. It is easer than going to the government right now and saying, "Thank you, sir. May I have another?" Take your loans, take your unemployment and let me work. Let me serve my people. Let me make them feel better about themselves. Let me make them feel not alone. We were told to stay home, we listened. We didn't sign up to lose our sense of life. And all while this lockdown extended longer and longer, we were told to stsy ugly too. Salons are not for solely vanity! I have a purpose in life to empower people to make them feel self-love, self-worth, and self-confidence. We may be just hairdressers to you, Government. But to our people, we do more. And guess what? We are safe in doing so.
My kids don't understand this. It is like we are punishing them. They do not understand why they cannot hug their grandparents, why they cant go to the store with me, why they can't learn and play with friends in a normal setting. This lockdown isn't just unfair to small businesses but cruel to children and parents. Isolating children in their core and pivitol years is not right. They need to be social beings and learn life skills. They need to be taught by trained professionals not by their parents frantically Googling or trying to navigate 9 different websites. They need out. I have watched it first hand how this has affected just my small two children. What is especially unfair to them is that they have to endure the affects of us parent's stress, anger, and sadness. I for sure am not perfect. They have had to deal with my bad days- the ones when I snap easily over everything and the ones that at a moments notice I break down into tears. Our children are too close to adult life problems. They need to play, get dirty, come home snotty and covered in markers (or is that pizza?).
End of April I caved, I let my kids play with my 10 year old nephew who lives with my mom and dad. They wrestled in the yard and I remembered that maybe they shouldn't be. Yet, I let it go. When I said it was time to go, my nephew looked at my in the most pleading way and asked for just 5 more minutes. My heart was broken. I then saw the true affects this was having on children. This is not working. This past weekend I took my children (by myself) 9 hours to the beach of North Carolina to visit my family and play with kids and well, feel alive and feel like children. It was the best decision I have made thus far during all of this. They needed it like something fierce. We have let felons out of jail to mitigate the disease but yet, we have been placed in one and we have placed our children in it too. It doesn't matter the toys or technology they have at home, they are not experiencing life.
For me and Torrey, well... When you spend as much time as we have with one person of course issues would arise. That is for all of us and our significant others. We had a schedule. We had a rhythm. We are both hard-headed, independent, driven individuals with career oriented minds. Our kids in daycare and us hustling used to be our norm. Needless to say, this pandemic threw a monkey wrench into our plans and threw off our rhythm. Finding our new one has been a task that even after 10 weeks, it hasn't appeared. This new normal isn't good for any of us. This dance we are trying to dance is one toes are being stepped on with every beat. Trying to parent together (when we were trying to do that in our normal setting to begin with), kids testing limits and boundaries, and at times feeling like they pin us against one another is difficult. Working from home- him trying to build a company and me trying to keep mine afloat implementing new things the salon has never done before (videos, online shopping, curbside pickup, etc)- with two small children that have yet to learn "time" let alone personal space is nearly an impossible task.
I made the decision to go back to work and try to do things at the salon and it has become long working days here. It is what I have always done. It is what I know. He has had to become a stay-at-home dad- 24/7. Arguments and miscommunication have become prevalent. Bad days over shadow the good. Balance between the both of us and our schedules disappeared and it has greatly affected us and unfortunately the children. If you do not think that our stressors aren't felt by the children surrounding us, you are dead wrong. They sense it and can sniff it out like a drug finding dog. I wish I could give a word of advice to those who are also feeling the distance and issues with their own significant others but I cannot. I welcome any that others may be able to give. I wish I didn't have to worry about work or my clients or if the government was going to throw me a bone so I could appreciate the time I had with my family. Maybe things would be easier.
I know we will survive. I have high hopes that my business will thrive depsite this pandemic. I know my employees will come back to work and service their guests with a newfound passion, a passion that exceeded the one they had before. I know our clients think of us as essential and they will be back and appreciate us that much more. I know that me and Torrey are good parents and our children will be okay. I know that my relationship is strong and the issues will work themselves out and we will overcome and we will be stronger yet. But what I am feeling right now in this very second is valid. Because right now, this very second, we are struggling with the emotional rollercoater that we have to ride out. Right now, there is no balance. The only saving grace right now is knowing that I am not the only one going through this and feeling this way.
Why did I decide to write this for the salon? I built the salon on a motto of "Live Beautifully, Live Confidently, & Empower" and I promised to make it a safe place for clients to feel like they could open up to us whether they were struggling or celebrating. If you know me, I have always walked around with a brave face even when horrible things happened in my life but I have never been shy to say that I do not have my shit together. I mean, who does? I will never pretend or hide things away from my clients. How could they trust me with not only their hair but with their deepest secrets or own self-worth?
You are not alone. I am not alone. Us little people waiting for our businesses to open, parents wanting the best for our children, or just those who want some sort of sense of life back, we are in this together. I stand with you. Live Salon stands with you. We will get through this. Yelling and crying, we will get through this. We don't know what life looks like after this. We will all be different. We will be learn this new dance.
And once you get your hair done... you will feel better.
Owner | Master Stylist