4 years ago today, I began folding clean white towels.
By that I mean, I started school at Avalon school of Cosmetology in their new Esthetics program. When I enrolled months previous to that, the esthetics classrooms hadn’t yet been built. I didn’t care. I had jumped through hoops and had given it my all for over a year to finally be enrolled in a program to pursue my dreams of becoming an esthetician.
I even got married at 19 to get loans for esthetics school, didya know? So funny story, apparently no one wants to give loans to “dependents” (people under the age of 24) – sans consideration of the fact that I’d already been financially independent since 16. My parents weren’t in a position to help me financially or credit wise to get loans for school. However, being the emotional support angels that they are, they DID gift my boyfriend of two years and I their blessing for us to get married. At the time, it was intended to be a business arrangement with the bonus factor of “Sure, we love each other and we’ll probably end up married eventually anyway, right?”
My quick advice for this whole situation? Don’t get married just to be considered an “independent” so you can apply for loans. There are other ways that don’t bring so much resentment and heartache as marrying at 19 can bring. #lessonlearned
4 years ago today, I was 20 years old, dressed proudly in really ugly white scrubs. (Yep. White. Can you guess that a business man at “corporate” decided that white scrubs would be appropriate for the predominantly female students enrolled in this program?) I found a seat amidst a sea of other new students. I was terrified. I knew I was in for about 8 months of struggle to get my hands on that license. Between juggling caring for a home, 3 cats, a spouse, a full time job dental assisting, and 25 hours a week at school, my plate was FULL! I was ready, I wanted it so bad.
Some of my favorite memories with my classmates happened around a pile of stark white towels and sheets, warm and fragrant fresh from the dryer. At the end of class, as we waited for those last few moments to tick by, we would gather around an esthetics bed and tackle this mountain of clean laundry together. In my class there were maybe 10 students. All female, from different backgrounds and walks of life. We may have had very few things in common, but what we did share was our love/ hate relationship with folding all of this clean laundry at the end of a long day, so tired we could hardly keep our eyes open. It became a bonding experience. Talking, laughing, folding, yawning.
When I graduated from esthetics school, I took some lash clients from home to continue to grow my new skill as a lash artist. An extra bedroom in my home became my Pinterest project/ esthetics room to service my friends and family, who all supported my new career like their lives depended on it. In my room, filled with pretty colors and smells, I would dump my fresh, clean, white towels on my massage table and fold away. Now instead of with other students, by myself. In the place of other voices, my own voice filled my head. You did it! You made it through school and the future looks bright. You can do hard things.
Four years later, I’m 24.
I’m standing in front of my washer and dryer, facing a pile of clean white towels. I realized that now doing this activity, I slip directly into a delicious alpha brainwave. The kind that you experience when you’re zenned out- for me, that’s an hour into a set of lashes. Or maybe while commuting home, or elbow deep in a warm soapy sink of dishes. My hands somehow know (even though my brain has slowed down) to pick up a towel, fold it in half width wise then lengthwise, then to place it onto my fresh, tidy pile of clean towels. There’s something so wonderful about slipping into these little relaxing states while doing something seemingly monotonous.
Now, I’m folding my own little salon’s towels. They’re warm and they smell good- and I love that each client will have a fresh one for their service in my studio. I love these towels- they bring me a delightful alpha state of gratitude and reflection. These towels are memories. They are reflection of where I began. They are a reminder of meeting and supporting other amazing women along my journey- some of whom became lifelong friends.
I started my own business 10 months ago. I am always tired, but it’s the good kind of tired that comes from busting your ass and gaining fulfillment from keeping your business afloat, paying your bills on time, and feeding your cat (and yourself) regularly. I have nothing but gratitude for my journey in this industry. Part of me hopes, no matter how far I choose to embark on this journey, that I will always be the one handling my piles of clean white towles- yawning, reflecting, and practicing gratitude for what the last four years has brought to my life.