Tabatha Coffey Takes Over: INTERVIEW
You probably went through a grieving process when she passed away.
I feel like I'm going through more of a grieving process right now, to be honest with you. I think I was so numb when it first happened, and I had the first Thanksgiving, and that kind of went by in a blur, then the first Christmas and that went by in a blur, and her birthday — it really wasn't until the first anniversary of her death that I felt like I had this momentous kind of grieving process that happened. There’s enough [distance] that the numbness is gone, but you actually start to think of the memories and think of the person, and really miss them.
What do you do to combat that?
For me, I kind of just go through it. I just feel it. I'm a big believer in feeling it. I have really crappy days. and if in one of those crappy days I for no reason start crying, you know it's because I'm thinking of her. For me, I just feel that process and go through it. I try and celebrate her as much as I can. We all say that our parents were great, and it's true; my mother was such a strong woman and such a driving force in my life. I can hear her in my head sometimes when I have bad days, telling me to get over it and go and do what I have to do, she's fine, and I did a good job. And that always makes me smile and get over it. And I talk about it. I think it's quite cathartic to have a good friend or family member or a partner, whoever it is, to be able to talk about the good times and really celebrate that person. Even if there are tears, just be able to talk about the funny moments you had and the silly moments — I think that's such a great celebration for people.
I love that your parents owned strip clubs when you were a kid. And you kind of got your start doing hair for the transgender dancers there. Did you get your tough-love approach from your mom?
I did get that from my mom. My mother, being a businesswoman, did have a tough-love approach with people in her business and, although she was incredibly compassionate and caring, she was really strong. She was one of the strongest people I've ever come across. It was just get up and get on with it — it was a very tough-love approach, pretty much like I am, actually. I guess we all become our mothers at some point. People look and see the strong exterior and strong businesswoman and sometimes think there's not a softer side, but there's also that soft, compassionate side as well. Especially in her clubs, she took care of so many of the girls at work — when they were going through operations, she lent them money to be able to have their surgeries, she would take care of them when their families didn't understand and kick them out. So even though she was a tough boss, she was also compassionate and caring with them, and she passed those things on to me as well.
We hear so much talk about the difficulties balancing work and life. Do you struggle with that?
Of course I do; I think we all do. Look, I think everyone now works so hard, it's just our society, we are constantly on the go, constantly busy, constantly trying to overachieve and do better for ourselves all the time. And those are all really great things, but it's so easy to get caught up in everything that's going on — and information comes at us at the speed of light — that we forget sometimes to take a step back and take five minutes for ourselves and smell the roses, or stop and pat ourselves on the back for a minute, or even cut ourselves a break. I know I am very guilty of that. I'm harder on myself than anyone can ever be. So it's important to remember to cut yourself a little slack.
And remember the love portion of that tough love.
I like that! I'll be stealing that from you, Diane — it's very true. I think especially for someone like me, because my mother was a very grounding force for me. She was the person that — and I don't mean physically — could just slap me upside the head and tell me to calm down and get over things. Or to just treat yourself and take a rest. So she was very good at grounding me, whether it be making sure that I take care of myself or making sure that I treat myself or making sure that sometimes I pull my head out of my own behind. And that was a good thing. So not having her around, it becomes even harder. And for anyone that doesn't have that person, it becomes even more relevant to to remind yourself all the time to be able to do those things to take care of yourself, because you really can't be your best to anyone else, if you're not your best for yourself.