Your friends and your family will all have different opinions formed, based on their own personal beliefs of what they deem is best for you. They may all present very valid points, but only you know what feels best in your heart. Even if you don’t take their advice and later find yourself in a mishap, that was your mishap to experience. It’s not that they were right and you were wrong, you are growing. You are a living, blossoming being that is learning about life and yourself, day by day. A day without learning something new is a day wasted in my book. This analytical virgo brain of mine has had to strategically rewire itself, and learn how to embrace its mistakes, rather than ridicule them. This hasn’t exactly been a walk around the park!
As humans, we are naturally hard on ourselves. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “You are your own worst critic,” right? So then you know how viciously true it is. However, it is vital that you go with your gut even when all of the odds are against you. One thing to keep in mind when it comes to going with your gut is the other saying, "You are what you eat". Don't let those chemical filled, processed foods lie to you! Your family and friends can say what they want, but only you know what you want and need the best out of any of them. An example I look back on and laugh at these days, would have to be my first job out of cosmetology school!
I was beyond ecstatic to move to a whole new town, and begin my career at the ritziest salon there. Immensely proud of myself, for landing what seemed like the ideal dream job for any brand new stylist fresh out of school. Until it wasn't, and things quickly moved south. Promises that were made started slipping through the cracks. My initial paperwork with what my pay would be was nowhere to be found about a week in. I was grossly underpaid, and ferociously overworked. Some of the tasks the owner was having me perform were actually illegal, being that my license hadn’t even come in yet. I was told to lie to clients that were interested in the longevity of my career, and assure them that rather than being new I had been in the game for years. This was such a God awful experience for me, I actually feel my throat closing in a little making it harder to breath as I type this. Good ole, anxiety! Time to take more CBD. You can head over to the "CBD" tab on the menu bar to read more on why I enjoy taking CBD.
Since I grew up in and around salon settings with family members who also do hair, I practically was experienced. It’s not that I couldn’t handle the tasks at hand, I absolutely could. I can do anything I set my mind to. I was just consciously aware that what I was doing, and how I was being treated were terribly wrong. I felt it deep to my core, although my Mom had a hard time buying it in the beginning. Initially I believe she thought I was being ungrateful and overly dramatic. “You should be appreciative to be working at the nicest salon in town! It’s not everyday people get opportunities like this, Carlie, and especially not right out of school!” I had heard it all. My head and heart were at war. Until a blessing in disguise occurred.
My older cousin’s wife who I hadn't seen in years, but lived locally booked an appointment to come and see me. She is around my Mom’s age, so naturally this put me at an advantage. I had an unbiased witness. Someone who knew nothing of the mental, physical, and emotional abuse that was happening repeatedly on a daily basis, but boy did she witness it that day. She saw first hand what I was enduring, and actually experienced some of it herself. She did not take this occurrence lightly. She made sure to let my Mom know exactly how terrible of an experience she had, and basically that my boss was the she devil in disguise. How it all went down still makes me cringe to this day, but I am beyond grateful that it happened. God sent me a witness to attest to my words, when he knew that I needed one most.
I am thankful someone around my Mother’s age was able to see that, and validate everything I had been feeling/saying. I was depressed, sick, and barely hanging on to life by a thread after only two short months there. Fainting and puking on the job due to how hard I was working, with little to no breaks to eat or drink water. It was pure agony. I informed my Mom I would be putting in my two weeks immediately. I couldn’t bare another minute!
She became stressed on my behalf, rightfully so as she is my Mother and I was a young adult(18 to be exact) navigating the real world in a brand new town! If anything, I am appreciative she cared so much. If you’re reading this Mom, shoutout to you! Shoutout to all of the selfless mothers across the world putting, their children first. No matter what age! Doing what mothers do best, she began pressing me with a variety of questions. Things like, “Where will you go?” and, “How will you make money?". My favorite one yet that went on to become a limiting belief building a home in my subconscious, “What will other salons think of someone that quit somewhere after only two months?”. I didn’t know, and I didn’t care. Well, a sliver of me cared and was somewhat anxious, but I knew that I would figure it out. All I had to do was believe in myself. Simply trust the process. With less than $500 in my bank account, my dignity and I left.
I was frantic, but optimistic when the owner told me she wouldn’t need me to finish out my two weeks. She would be giving the other newbie my work. I was happy to hear that, in hopes of the boss maybe paying the other stylist the income I was no longer making. Essentially doubling her income, since she would be doing double the work, in turn helping her to build a clientele more rapidly. This was highly unlikely due to the owner's lust for money, but a dreamer can dream right? We were barely making $115-$130 a week. If someone tipped on a card, that money was as good as gone. You'd never see it. Anyone with bills knows this really isn’t a livable amount when you also have gas and groceries to worry about.
Realistically there was no time for a second job. I was sun up to sundown most days, six days a week. Anything is possible obviously, but as I stated above I was becoming ill. Very very ill. You wouldn’t even recognize me if you saw a picture of me during this time. I slept most days, and it breaks my heart to think about all of the life I missed out on during this period. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis disease shortly after leaving this job. I am by no means blaming my illness on this job. It's genetic, however I do believe that being worked like an elephant in a circus played a large part of how sick I rapidly became.
Not the brightest time in my life, but I focused on the positives and figured this would give me more time to focus on job hunting. I had four interviews that first week, which left me feeling good because I knew my Mother would hop off of my case a bit. By the second week when I hadn’t received any callbacks yet, the nerves had all started to set in. “Was she right?” or, “Am I just the next new lazy piece of shit who couldn’t make it through the underdog days in this chew you up, and spit you out on the streets new town?” I thought to myself. “No, no way. Hell no!”. “Get those toxic thoughts out of your mental right this instant, Carlie. You are better than that!”. What’s the very best way to keep your mind off of something troubling, one might ask? Finding a distraction!
Ah yes, the infamous game of distracting one’s self. I took the little money I had, and went shopping. Mostly window and grocery, but nonetheless shopping. Retail therapy is undeniably one of the best ways to distract yourself. I even bought a kitten off craigslist, who most of you now know as Lynyrd, or Lyny for short. Totally reckless and irresponsible being jobless, but I wasn’t jobless. I refused to let my mind go there, and continued to believe with everything I had that I would get a callback for a second interview any minute!
It was when I was driving home with my sweet new 2lb baby Lyny, on the verge of a mental breakdown thinking about vet bills and no job that my phone rang. Divine timing. The call of all calls. It was the salon I had wanted to work at most! The people were friendly and the energy was superb. I felt so at home here after one single interview. I couldn’t wait for my second! God absolutely came through when I needed him most, again.
The day had come. Time for my second interview. This time with both owners instead of just the one I had already met in my first interview. I knew in my heart it was best to tell them the truth about my previous job. After all, having at least one job under my belt even if for a short period of time, in my mind sounded better than being fresh out of school. My jaw was clenched, heels pressed into the floor, and hands nervously shaking as one began to ask, “So we see you worked at blank for two months?”. “Breathe Carlie, breathe,” I thought to myself. “Yes mam, that is correct. It wasn’t the best fit for me career wise, but I wish them all the best and I left on great terms!” I replied feeling confident, but still a little nerve wracked at the thought of what they would think.
They stared at one another for a moment, and then burst out into laughter, cackling like glamorous hyenas. “Oh jeez, my Mom was right. How embarrassing,” I thought in my head. Maybe I wasn’t ready to role with the big dogs in the real world. I wanted to crawl back in to my bed at home, and go back to high school. Where I was safe, and surrounded by love. All of this, including the conversations were so far out of my eighteen year old self's comfort zone. What felt like a lifetime of watching them laugh, but in retrospect was maybe only five seconds, the other one still laughing hysterically through her words finally responded, “You survived two whole months in that place?!”. I was in awe! I couldn't believe it. I let out a big sigh of relief I felt I had been holding for two solid months. They continued laughing, and began to give me praise.
They knew I was strong minded, and would be able to handle just about anything if I had made it two months at that “chop shop” as I recall them referring to it as. I couldn’t believe it, all my limiting beliefs had been completely diminished. I wasn’t crazy for wanting to change my circumstances. You know that feeling, when all faith is restored in humanity? Hands down one of the best feelings in the entire world! Surely I wasn’t the only one out there that had experienced this unfortunate treatment. Ironically enough as time has gone on, I have realized there is basically a small army of us. Each story uniquely different, but all relating by one common denominator. Each individual that left, strong in their own beautiful way. I enjoy these humans as we have connected over the years, and shared a good laugh. We all have one definite thing in common for sure despite different appearances or upbringings/backgrounds, and that is that we believe we deserved better than this.
As time went on, the owners amongst many others told me that although this salon was gorgeous on the outside, it and it's owner are rotten on the inside. Holding the first place title to worst reputation in town. I had been right all along. I wasn’t lazy or a quitter for leaving, I was smart. I knew my worth. I recognized abuse and being taken advantage at some of the first signs. I caught glimpses of my future there, and they weren’t bright or in alignment with what I had in mind for myself. Instead of running away, I ran towards mine and my mother’s fears of my livelihood, and didn’t look back. I trusted the process and knew that the neon light was somewhere at the end of this dark tunnel. Sure enough it was. Because of leaving and breaking free from the shackles of someone who wanted to keep me down, I went on to become one of the most successful stylists in town in under two short years, and not even twenty one years of age yet. My climb to the top was fast, and I was done letting anyone get in my way. I also regained my health, and now look better than before I ever became sick.
When it all boils down to it, our family and friends only want what they believe is best for us. They want to see us succeed! Looking back, I am so grateful for the challenge and sense of urgency my Mother instilled in me at a young age. I believe you also know your worth and what’s best for you. Despite what others think, or where some want to hold you at for their own subconsciously selfish benefit. Only you know what’s best for you. So keep your standards high, and always listen to your heart! I promise you won’t regret it. Even if the entire thing blows up in your face, and you have to navigate a new route. That is okay. We learn from our mistakes, and this makes us stronger in the end. Wouldn’t you rather know and fail, then to wonder what could’ve been while forever holding your peace? “Every winner begins as a loser,” Dashun Wang, a professor at Northwestern University says. So get out there today and set the GPS to "win," and get your butt going! You got this.