Well folks, I celebrated my birthday this weekend. Not ANY birthday… but the last “20’s.” I turned 29. As I am embarking on this last year before my 30’s, I felt it important to dive a little deeper on something that bothers me, might give you a more personal look into who I am, and hopefully push you to treat everyone a little kinder…
Everything about this industry is intermingled. I truly believe that as a stylist and makeup artist, my job is not just about outer beauty. When I was younger, I used to go to the hair salon in my little town with my Mom. My eyes were filled with images of these gorgeous women with beautiful hair and makeup, who were so sweet to me. Everything about the salon was enticing: the smells, the sounds, the people. As I grew, my Mom always felt it important to take me to this salon to have my hair done as well. This was ‘THE’ salon in my town. The stylist who worked on me truly was/is a great artist, and to this day, I am impressed by her work, and who she is. THAT is saying a lot considering I have worked with some of the absolute best in Atlanta.
When I sat down in her chair, I knew I was going to walk out a different person. In her hands, she held the ability to make me feel better about myself, and to make me feel beautiful, in a time when I really didn’t. She also had the most incredible patience, I think, of any stylist. I would walk in for a cut, and spring on her that I wanted to dye my hair some crazy red, or put giant blonde streaks in it… and she did it, without acting as if I had inconvenienced her, or that she had any other place she would rather be. That, TOO, is a huge deal, considering I now understand what it is to work in a salon, and how tight our schedule’s can be when one client throws off our timing. She not only personified physical beauty, she is, to this day- hands down-one of the most beautiful women inside and out, that I know.
I didn’t grow up the most beautiful, the thinnest, the most athletic, the most popular, the most talented person- as many of us didn’t. I had all the typical insecurities that teenagers have- unfortunately… and fortunately, when you grow up in a small town, people care a LOT about your business. They also care a lot about whether or not you fit in with their standards (although, maybe this is just society as a whole.) As an adult, I can see the insecurities in those people in High School, but as a teenager, I just felt…. not accepted. As many of us, I had a poor sense of who I was, mostly due to the fact that my weight didn’t seem to match many of the other girls. Weight is such an issue in this country, and looked at in such an unhealthy manner that I have made it a mission of mine to re-educate anyone willing to listen (or read.) 🙂
A couple of weeks ago I saw a status update with an older picture of a friend. It read something to the extent of ‘Man, I miss when I was that small…,’ there was nothing wrong with this statement. However, I think, weight wise, she is truly perfect. What bothered me, was the focus on the number. I have the right to talk about this. I have been on both ends of the spectrum. I gained a serious amount of weight after a very tragic time in my life, and I have since lost a serious amount of weight. Since that time, over the last 2 years, my life has dramatically changed. I have evolved into an avid lover of running, a green smoothie junkie, and a mostly healthy eater (dang chocolate). Initially it was just about losing weight, but after a conversation with a friend (a completely different one)- a couple of years ago, I made an off-hand, clearly not thought through, comment about how she didn’t need to exercise- she was skinny regardless of what she ate. I didn’t realize that she, too, had the insecurities about her weight- on the opposite end of the spectrum. She spent her whole life hearing ‘You are so skinny,’ ‘Why don’t you eat something,’- I know many of us have thought- if you are naturally skinny- you don’t get to complain- this is truly not fair. She “re-educated” me, and she was right, and it impacted my perception from that time on. It is not about weight- it is about health. A naturally thin person has just as much of an ability of being unhealthy as a heavier person.
I know my blog is about hair and makeup- but as I stated, everything is intermingled. When I deal with hair and makeup, I have this pathway into people’s personal space and lives. We all know its true. We have all told our stylist things that we may not have even told our closest friends. We get a chance to touch the soul, and bring beauty into that person’s life. My insecurities with my weight when I was younger made a very deep impression on me that everyone deserves to feel beautiful- and I made it my mission to make every person I worked on feel as beautiful as the beauty I saw within them.
I was lucky to have a Mother who reinforced the beauty she saw in me both inside, and outside- consistently. Not everyone is this lucky. I was also lucky to have 2 stylists do the same thing. They touched my heart and soul, and made me see the beauty in myself, when all I could see was how I was lacking. They gave me direction and confidence, and most of all… hope that one day things would be better. They were right. And with the platform that this career gives me, I also feel the need to be clear about where I stand. I stand for healthy lives. I can give you all of the skin care advice in the world- but if you eat unhealthily, it will show up in your skin. If you don’t take care of yourself, your hair isn’t going to be shiny and bouncy. And if you choose to judge people based on their weight and be hateful towards them, all the makeup in the world isn’t going to cover a mean heart. It will come through.
We must choose kindness always. I know the hurt of not being treated well as teenager, and as an adult, due to weight. Most of us do- for one reason or another. I am thankful that I am not in that place anymore- but I will never forget. We must readjust our perception of health and stop focusing on a number; It is not an accurate measurement of a healthy person. We must redefine beauty for future generations. The kindness shown to me by two Hairstylists in a tiny town in the Midwest impacted my life so incredibly that I went on to hopefully impact others, and perhaps be able to pay forward the love and acceptance they gave to me and make another person feel beautiful.
To Dani and Jolene- you will never know the impact you had on my life. Thank you for giving a little girl strength and hope and making her feel beautiful…..
This video reinforced my choice to write this:
This little guy needs to grow up in a world where our standards are not defined by our weight, and beauty comes in all forms. He is why I do what I do.
Have a Beautiful Day!