20 8 / 2014
Never in my life have I been more thankful for bed bugs.
It was a Friday morning, my scheduled day to work in the salon. I finished up with my client—a friend—when I felt a familiar itch on the top of my sandaled foot. “Funny…” I thought as I bent down to scratch, “This feels like… Disturbingly like…an itch that can’t be scratched.” Somewhere deep down I knew what it was, but I dared not think the thought through for I knew that merely thinking about bed bugs could cause them to spontaneously appear like that creepy co-worker who’s always mouth breathing and keeps his dirty cans of diet coke in the community ice bin. So I ignored the thought and showed my friend to the door. After all: there are no bed bugs in LA!
My friendly client exited through the front door completely unaware that buzzing overhead was a hive of ceiling bees discovered earlier that morning; between the insulation and the frosted light panels that made up the visible ceiling of the salon a swarm of bees had appeared overnight. I looked up with concern as they wandered around on the smooth, man-made plastic surface confused by their location and possibly also by the toxins seeping into their precious lungs from the salon below.
"We have to have someone come kill them," the owner said.
"I don’t think they’ll kill them…don’t you know how much we need bees? I’m guessing they’ll move them to an apiary nearby."
"What? What is that? They should just kill them. You’re weird."
(She may not have actually called me weird, but you know she thought it. I love worms too, lady.)
I walked back to my station, sat down and started playing around with the new polish and stamping plates I’d just ordered when suddenly… that’s funny… it felt almost as if something was crawling up my thigh inside my new blue jumpsuit. I scratched my leg and went back to work. Funny! There it was again. And again. And then I grabbed a small something in between the fabric of my new blue jumpsuit, applied pressure, and it burst.
My heart sank. I knew what this was. The itch was familiar because I am extremely allergic to bed bugs; I knew the blood on my new blue jumper was my own, extracted from my sandaled foot. I rolled up my pant leg and pulled out what so many of us have come to know as “Devil Insecta”… a single bed bug.
I immediately went into a flop sweat of Niagara proportions as I texted the photo to my husband. We had gone through four rounds of bed bug infestation in our old Brooklyn apartment before realizing the calls were coming from inside the building and we were forced to move. The mere mention of bed bugs turns us as white as ghosts—this was a code red situation.
"THAT is a bed bug," my husband replied, and with that I went back to the break room to have what was my first and final chat with owner 1 of 3 of the salon.
The first chat because of the 3 owners, only one had ever taken the time to check in with me, get to know me, and talk to me on a regular basis. This owner, and the scariest of the three, had treated our relationship like a mean girl in high school treats the kid who can’t afford new clothes— whispers, snide comments and eye rolls. Things had been tense in the salon for a while and no matter what I did to get them on my side, they just didn’t like me.
She was concerned about the bed bug, naturally. I gave her the ziplock I’d trapped it in and told her to contact an exterminator ASAP. Then, because we were talking and I felt bold, I asked her about a rumor she had confronted me with a day earlier. A rumor about me leaving to join forces with the 3rd, sane owner of the salon in October. I asked her about the brochure I’d left at my desk (nestled between the garbage can and towel bin behind my nail station, not visible to those not searching for evidence), which had mysteriously disappeared the following day/the day before she confronted me with this “rumor”. Strange. She denied everything, refused to tell me where she’d heard this rumor, and yet, the brochure was nowhere to be found.
From there our conversation became heated as I assume she felt trapped, and before I knew it she was blaming all the problems of the salon on me. Not taking 1/3 of the responsibility like a business owner should, but blaming someone who has quietly worked there for two months without incident. *I* am the one making the salon tense. It’s because of *me* the salon is not a fun, friendly environment. Not the two owners who have caused every employee they’ve ever had to quit…but ME. (I am still in contact with previous employees so I know.)
I was floored. I turned around, walked back to my space, texted my husband to bring a few big boxes and started cleared out my desk; I quit.
The reaction to my exit from the two salon owners was not surprising. They tried to turn me against the third who has been nothing but nice, honest and consistent the entire year I’ve known her. They smirked at my comments about the way I was treated and the tension in the salon and there is nothing I hate more than a mean girl who won’t take responsibility for her actions.
It’s taken me a while to understand when people are treating me poorly. I was so used to putting up with negativity, jealousy, backstabbing and worse with a woman I worked with for five years that I became numb to it. I was also very good at blaming myself. I was the fuck up, not them. I was the one causing problems… right? Turns out, I was wrong and glad to be.
For the next 24 hours I was bummed. I hadn’t wanted to quit. I didn’t have the money to quit. I had thrown thousands into starting my nail business and now I’d have almost a month and a half without clients.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when you can’t tell the shit from Shinola the universe has a funny way of making it stank. Without a doubt in my mind I can tell you that the one and only thing that would cause me to exit so abruptly, breaking my contract in the process, is a bed bug. And what are the chances that in my little spot in the back of a little salon in Atwater with almost no clients I would meet my motivator? Very, very slim. (The bees were a nice added incentive, too.)
I will have a new, private space in Glendale starting October 1st, and I swear to the universe that I will never again summon bed bugs to my feet with bad decisions or future alignments with terrible individuals.
Here’s to being happy, healthy and BED BUG FREE!
08 5 / 2014
Something happens to you when you watch someone die. Something changes inside and I imagine it’s different for everyone. Me? I freaked the fuck out. Where there had once been fleeting, sometimes hilarious fears about the world around me and the many ways in which I could maim, emotionally hurt or otherwise dismember myself, there was now very real, very frightening and convincing panic that my world was going to end in an awful way.
Let’s play the blame game! *clap clap! clap!* She’s 5’4”! She’s kinda great! But she can’t see it, cuz she’s constantly blaming herself for everything bad that has ever happened in her life.
Here’s something I didn’t know: guilt and remorse are close cousins. Really close. They sleep in bunk beds at family reunions and they like to make life really shitty for anyone around. I was already familiar with guilt, having spent a life trying to figure out how to please a very unstable parent. I started to see that same behavior in myself and that made the remorse kick in the door to say hey.
If only I’d been raised by him. If only I’d been more athletic. If only I could have been funnier, then I would have had a shot. If only I’d gone to college. If only, if only, send Glennis right over.
And I started to get really sick of it; life. I started to feel like living like this, feeling this frustrated, upset, confused, angry and lost, for the rest of my life was just going to be too much. When do I get a break? When can I stop trying so hard? When do I get to be myself?
I’ve been to Georgia and California, but I’ve never been to me. I’ve never been to Paris. I’ve never seen the fireflies on the Mae Klong river in Thailand. I’ve never owned an island. I’ve never become the face of change for Alzheimer’s disease. I’ve never had children and I never will. I can’t. I’m too afraid. I’m afraid of it all because I don’t know who I am.
I know this is all over the place, and it’s probably not going to make sense to anyone at this point, but I need to write. I need to write and be heard in order to break myself out of this prison I’ve been in. A prison where I am bad and everything I do, worthless. And I know saying these words is going to shock a few people. Probably the people who know me best. Because I don’t tell anyone what’s going on deep down in the depths. The depths that have been collecting my shame and guilt and storing my anger since I was eight.
I’m working through it. I’m in a better place now. I still have to remind myself every day to think about #1. Not in the way that I used to: constant reminders of my lack of self worth, reminders that I was hated by everyone, gentle nudges in the direction of disappearing all together, but in a healthy way. A way that starts, “What do I need right now and how can I make that happen?” It’s putting my devotion to the happiness of others onto myself, and it’s hard as hell.
What I’ve realized is it’s not about what I need in the moment, but what I need overall. In the moment I need coffee or alcohol or weed or all of the fries, but usually just alcohol. Alcohol kills the mobs in my brain and makes for a nice evening out, sometimes followed by shitting and/or puking my brains out, always by crying.
Overall what I needed was a complete overhaul. Body, mind, soul; life. A purge, a cleanse, a ghost bust, whatever you want to call it.
I’d clean out my house first. Years of collected shit I’d lug from one apartment to the next because I’d need it some day. I never needed it and now it’s gone.
Then, my body. From cigarettes, caffeine, alcohol, and finally, most processed foods. (Going on month five/I still treat myself.)
I exercise every day. I’m sticking to it (Day 32), and I’m feeling happier and seeing the benefits. Endorphins!
Finally, Grand Central Station; my brain. The one benefiting from the endorphins, finally, at long last. Also the one organ I’ve thought about every day since he died. Since I watched him from the sidelines as he lived an extraordinary life, only to see him shrivel into nothing in front of my eyes. Since then, my brain is everything. It’s the most powerful tool on the planet and I’m ashamed at how I’ve ignored it for all these years. My brain is messed up. My thinking is backward and my memories are hidden. The discipline required to stay healthy has given me the confidence to retrain my brain and to recognize the shitty negative thinking so I can squash it.
I’m writing this because I have to get it out. I can’t sit on my couch day in and day out, getting stoned, staring at the TV because I can’t face the fact that life isn’t perfect and what happened was really fucking unfair. I need to write, I need to feel proud of what I’ve done, and I need to move more of this junk out of my brain so I can get back to what I really love. And I know I’m not the only one who has felt so low, I’m writing this for you, too, friend. Hang in there.
Now pack your fucking bags because it’s time to go to ME.
05 3 / 2014
Kelsey DeMeire, a self proclaimed “Freelance Journalist & Blogger” took to the internet yesterday to share her opinion of our show “50 Shades! The Musical” with a scathing review entitled, “50 Shades the Musical is bleak & humorless”. Forthwith, I shall commence in reviewing her review.
While poorly written and extremely confusing, this scathing “review” did manage to do a few things well. For starters, it posted live to the internet for the world to see; bravo! You know how to work a computer! I also enjoyed the ways in which you insulted our entire cast at once saying our acting was “corny” and that we were “understandingly unattractive”. I wish there were more brave souls like you to stand up for what you believe in: perfect 10s in the theatre! Talent be damned! Beat it, uggos! For a second I considered bashing your grasp of the English language and poor sentence structure in my review of your review, but thought better since I’m no laureate, and I don’t often take to judging someone for something I’m not able to do myself.
I will say, however, that I was a bit concerned with the way in which it seems you’ve connected to the 50 Shades material. Do you think it’s real? You called yourself a “religious reader” of the book…I’m still unsure if you yourself are religious, or if you just read the book every night in the tub as the sun sets? It’s also a bit disconcerting that you were unable to decipher which character was which in our tiny, 8-person cast! Were you dropped on your head a lot as a child? (Again, I only say that because I was.) Either way, you know Christian isn’t coming for you no matter how hard you read, right? You know he’s not real? Just checking.
I’m also SO sorry, dear Kelsey, that we couldn’t be the live sex show you wanted to see. You mentioned the only characters with shades of grey were the two scantily-clad dancers. Might I recommend Tijuana? Just get in your car and drive south; if you hit the water you’re doing it right.
Overall, I give this review a 3 out of 10 scars: low scores for writing and comprehension, but points for actor bashing and true props for taking the time to create something instead of sitting around on Twitter RT-ing shiny baubles to your 24 followers. That being said, Kelsey, in my eyes you’ll always be a zero.
Follow Kelsey on Twitter @DeMeiresDose
12 12 / 2013
Boy do I feel stupid! (That’s a lie, I never feel stupid because I’m very, very smart.)
What I mean is, dear Glesbians, I spent years and years—five to be exact—shoving pills containing god knows what in my face, and thousands of dollars in the hands of the pharmaceutical companies—the worst kind of company—when all this time I could have cured myself.
"No thanks, big Pharma; I’ve Marie Curied myself."
I honestly didn’t think it would happen this quickly, but since my post on Monday I have cut out alcohol, caffeine, fast food (I am trying to eat foods with limited ingredients and NO high fructose corn syrup), and have been exercising (kind of) and I am happy to report that last night I slept through the night without a pill like a BIG BITCH.
Here’s the hilarious part: thanks to my pal Vince, who discovered this gem on John Tesh’s Facebook—sage advice being doled out daily on his FB and Twitter, people—I may have discovered the key to curing my RLS once and for all: tonic water.
Say, say, say, what? That’s right, tonic water. It occurred to me, after sleeping well through the night post-consumption, that I used to love gin & tonics. In fact, I drank them all the time with an ex and only stopped drinking them because they reminded me of him.
I SAID HOT DAMN!!!
I still have a few pills left as a security blanket. The anxiety surrounding needing a good night of sleep can make the legs worse, I think, but YAY! I am on the right track and have them, should I need them.
The worst part of any of this, while I do love my hooch, was giving up caffeine. I had a solid caffeine withdrawal headache for two days straight. I also want to add that I started to beat myself up over how easy this was and how I should have done this years ago, but then I considered that I might not have been able to do this years ago. Only now is it this important to me to get off those pills and clean my body. So I stopped beating myself up and instead enjoyed a nice, hot cup of Sanka, which is just like coffee if you have no taste buds.
09 12 / 2013
A little beauty update for those interested:
Because of my father passing earlier this year I was unable to take my nail licensing test with the CA board. I’m happy to say I’ve resubmitted, and that, once licensed, I’ll be with the lovely women over at The Atwater Parlour for my booth rental—I literally can’t wait, and I thank them for their patience!
I love my little home salon, but I know people prefer a salon environment.
Second: I have wavered back and forth between whether or not to offer gels and acrylics and I’ve decided that, yes, I will offer both. I will still stress natural, healthy nails and try to persuade clients to go natural, but I’ve realized this is what the people want so who am I to deny? I’ll be taking the necessary precautions to protect myself (I’ll set to making a cute face mask to avoid the dangerous acrylic dust) and my clients (air purifier).
Lastly: I am still planning on attending cosmetology school I’m just not sure when. Let’s get the aforementioned in order first and the jam on the tresses.
And now you’re up to date. Book nails with me in my cute home salon by emailing email@example.com, and stay tuned for updates on the booth rental.
09 12 / 2013
I have Restless Leg Syndrome. It used to wreak havoc on my life until I took a sleep study and figured shit out. I was prescribed Mirapex and have been taking it since 2008.
Sleep Study Chic
Mirapex works! I sleep for the most part. The medication gives me crazy dreams, which I become very invested in, but the sleep is better than without the pills. Only, I hate taking pills. I don’t take any other medication, and I try to avoid pills whenever possible; there’s already enough dangerous shit going into my/our bodies every day. And once I eventually decide to have children I won’t be able to take the pills anyway, which is not worrisome at all!
So I’ve decided to ween myself and g-au natural.
The chemicals aren’t the reason to quit: I’m also spending an average of $160 a month on the medication. I’m currently uninsured, and the generic brand, which doesn’t work for me, caused the brand name to sky rocket in cost. What a system.
What I’ll have to do to get off these pills will require a complete overhaul of my current habits.
1. No caffeine
Sometimes I dream about that first cup of coffee. About getting up at the crack of dawn to Keurig my first cup, or feeding my Starbucks addiction. I love the taste, I love the smell, I love the routine; I love everything about coffee. This is going to blow eskimos.
I’m pretty good about exercising, but now I’ll need to at least do a long walk every day. NBD
3. Eat well
I love food. I will pretty much eat anything (save the disgusting “meat” Yoshinoya serves with their beef bowl what the h is that stuff, guys) and because we’re on a budget, I’ll eat whatever is available. HOT POCKETS. This is a good, necessary change because I have the eating habits of a monster.
Wearing socks to bed, taking a warm bath before, meditation, yoga; all easy enough to implement.
Basically, this is something that will affect my life positively overall. All I have to do is DO it, which is not something I’m great at. So wish me luck, folks…this ain’t no popped pill.AMENDED: ALSO NO ALCOHOL KILL ME NOW