I know that being resentful isn’t the best personality trait, but I feel it rear its ugly head sometimes.
My husband Bret lost a battle to a lifetime of mental health struggles. Even though it was suicide, carried out in anger with one of his famous knee-jerk reactions, it was still like any other health struggle; he had battled it. Then he was relieved of it.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have moments that creep up and get me mad, hurt, and frustrated all over again.
Well, I’m frustrated again.
I recently went back to work in the salon industry, in which I was working when I met him back in 2006.
Since we bounced around a lot, I never got licensing in any other state than Oregon, but I did keep up those licenses.
I worked just as hard for them as those who had chosen traditional college educations, and I did much of it while pregnant with my oldest child.
Over the years, I was the family hairdresser, so I am not entirely without practice.
But to say that I’m out of the loop on some things would be an understatement.
Luckily though, we live in a time where learning just about anything is available with just a click or two, and videos of such styles and procedures are all over YouTube, TikTok, and other places.
I went back to a chain salon that I had worked at two other times over 20 years ago. I am even still in my old station.
It’s been neat.
Some of my abilities came right back. Others, not so much.
In a corporate-owned salon, you basically do what you’re told in a specific amount of time.
I have a lovely manager who has worked with me on this, but it still doesn’t take away from my frustrations. I have never been an overly “quick” stylist – I prefer to take my time with everyone.
But that is not where these frustrations end. I’m not just talking about work or the typical solo, widowed parent stuff, I’m talking about the overwhelming dread that I truly did give my late husband “the best years of my life.”
That sounds so cliche, but it feels true!
Going back to a job like that would’ve been unheard of when Bret was alive as he needed to be somehow in charge of where I was at all times.
He used my times away from him to sift through my belongings or conduct tireless searches online to see if he could find my name attached to something from the past that he wouldn’t have approved of. Anything to which he could pull a fight from thin air, he was hopelessly addicted.
I was fit, energetic, and overall healthy and I had to devote those years to tending to Bret and his whims, his moods. Yes, they included some great times for me too, but I fell really behind on my own vocational knowledge and skills.
I was a caregiver to both him as well as his grandmother in her later years, all while raising our second child.
It wasn’t easy, but I am not resentful of caring for his grandmother, or even him when he went through his liver disease.
Now, though, I have years of trauma that I am actively working through. My energy levels are certainly not what they once were. PTSD likes to pop in and say hi once in a while.
On one hand, my years of dealing with Bret and his moods have certainly made me tougher.
In other ways, though, I come home and crumble after every shift. (Melt is maybe a better word for what I do after work.)
As the oldest employee in the salon, I say to myself every day “What are you doing? You don’t belong here.” I know it’s not true, but it’s how I feel most days.
Then I start to think, what if I had never left the salon industry when I met Bret?
Maybe I’d have my own chain by now? Maybe I’d be a viral stylist consulting in magazines or in movies.
(I recently started working toward starting my own beauty brand, but that’s something that will come in baby steps, so there is that. It’s nice to have goals.)
I’d certainly be more up-to-date on new services, styles, and trends if I had continued to work in the salon environment. Even if just as a receptionist. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t work away from Bret.
But if I had, maybe I wouldn’t come home every night from this current job and fight back tears.
I suppose that’s a good sign though – it means I must have “some” fight left in me…
I know things can and will get better, but in the interim I find myself battling this and other types of resentment on occasion.
It eats me up inside so I try to let it go.
But sometimes it just doesn’t seem fair that most of the burdens that he decided to float away from that cold February day have now descended upon my shoulders.
And these shoulders are a hell of a lot more tired than they used to be.
Photo via iFunny
And, I just couldn’t resist – a little hairdresser humor. Meme via BoredPanda.