I had these dreams of becoming a detective. You know, the CSI type you see on tv. New York City deep crime. I had those dreams since I was a little girl after I ruled out becoming a teacher. Equations, puzzles, mysteries and chemistry have always made my brain turn in a way that nothing else can- I never tire of them. I’ve always loved change and I’m not the type for a mundane routine, and I LOVE helping people.
My college dreams were shot when I tore my ACL at the beginning of my senior year in high school. I was so hopeful for a cheerleading scholarship to help pay for college. It sounds silly but at the time I didn’t know I had other opportunities. This was ignorance on my part and lack of the schools administration to help me see I had other avenues (anyone that went to my high school I’m sure can relate on this one). So I applied to a community college, worked three jobs the summer out of high school (realized I’m a terrible waitress) and at the start of fall I decided not to go to community college. I had no idea how I would pay for it and needed to save some money to go. Fast forward to November and I was working at a cellphone store and was so bored out of my mind that I knew I needed something more. I wrote down all the jobs I could do that would provide a decent income for myself and work around my college schedule. I landed on cosmetology school. 15 months of schooling, decent pay and a flexible schedule. I signed up for school that day and started a month later. That is where my journey began.
Cosmetology school was my ticket to “real college”. The only available school in town wasn’t a fancy Paul Mitchell or Aveda school, and a Phagans would have blown this one out of the water. Some of the instructors didn’t know what to do with us and quite frankly, those same ones didn’t seem like they knew what they were doing enough to teach us. We all somehow made it through the dysfunctional place we all call, Cosmetology School.
My first set of classes were nails and I didn’t love all the type of feet I touched during that time. Next was facials which I struggled to stay awake for 90% of the time while doing them. Waxing brings out some sort of sick pleasure when you’re ripping people’s hair out. When I started hair classes it was like the clouds had parted. Chemistry, equations, creativity, always something different and I still got to help people! Tie in making my own schedule, a possible decent wage and I can go anywhere in the world with this job?! The detective gig didn’t seem so great after all (Note: making your own schedule and a decent wage take YEARS of hard work). I wrote down the things that were important to me for my future when I decided on hair: being present in a family of my own, flexibility, excitement and connections with people.
Now it’s almost 12 years later and I still love what I do and I am beyond grateful for this job. It really is a lot of hard work to be successful in the beauty industry - You have to go after what you want and you have to grind daily. It’s challenging and things are always changing. I am not a perfect stylist and I still make mistakes but I always grow from it. I think my job has made me a better person and healthier mentally. Everyone has a story to tell and I love to hear them- No story shocks me. I’ve had some hard realizations about myself through the years too. I don’t know if I would have figured some of those things out if I wasn’t willing to just talk with whoever sat in my chair. .
It’s been 12 years but I feel like my journey to a hairstylist is always just starting. I guess that’s how you know you’re in the right profession.