After years of juggling various career ideas as a child, I finally settled on the idea that I wanted to improve people’s lives. Of course at the time, I didn’t realize that was the glue that put all of my serious career aspirations together, but reflecting now, I can see it clear as day.
In the fifth grade I was adamant about becoming a fashion designer; five years and hundreds of sketches later, I couldn’t pin down what I actually wanted to design. So I scratched that plan. It was in the tenth grade when I finally gave in to my innate passion for wellness, and ultimately decided that I would open a spa.
Coming into my senior year of high school and starting to apply for colleges, I was a bit stuck. For years I had researched fashion schools and programs in New York City because I was set on becoming a fashion designer. So now where do I go to school to become a spa owner? And what the hell do I major in? Naturally, I am an artist, but I didn’t think that would be a suitable major to open a spa. Business seemed like the next best thing, but nothing too hardcore like economics or accounting, and not quite as boring as management seemed. I wanted something exciting, something that still allowed me to use some of my creative energy - so marketing seemed like the best option. But before I decided to actively pursue any schools, I went on my first tour to a cosmetology school.
I grew up in a salon environment, being that my aunt opened her salon the same year that I was born (this may be where that innate passion comes from). When I stepped into the doors of Regency Beauty Institute I knew I was on the right path. The aromas of hair products, and nail polish, the sounds of blow dryers, and the beautiful displays of retail set my soul on fire. I was literally a kid in a candy store. Everything was perfect. This is where I wanted to be. College could wait.
Well, it didn’t. I went on to apply to college, got accepted, and majored in marketing with a certificate in entrepreneurship. I’m sure you’re thinking, what went wrong after that perfect cosmetology school visit? Nothing actually, other than me overthinking everything, planning every possible outcome, and ultimately deciding to start my undergraduate career while I was in my prime with all of my peers. I knew cosmetology school would always be there.
Upon graduating from college, I began working my first big girl job straight out of school, in my field (marketing). I decided to enroll in a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training to get back on track with my spa goals. Being back in a learning environment did more for me than I ever expected. I absolutely hated college, and I despised high school (except for taking every single art class my school offered, I loved that part) so I was not expecting to fall in love with being “in school” again. This was the first time ever, aside from taking art classes where I felt perfectly at home. All of my thoughts and ambitions colliding with this new knowledge gave me such gratifying confirmation that my road to wellness was the right one. I was thrilled, I wanted this to be my life.
It wasn't until I decided to deepen my yoga practice, and I mean really take it seriously in my day to day when I noticed a weight lift off my shoulders.
Time seemed to slow down. My mind felt calm. Bad days got easier each week. I was sad less. I stopped being upset with where I was in life. I started feeling happier.
Being able to clear my mind through yoga, and having faith in God, knowing that he makes no mistakes and that he's made my life to have purpose has helped out tremendously.
I love to help people discover yoga. I talk to people all the time who feel that "they have to get ready for yoga", or "aren't flexible enough", are "too old", or simply it's just not for them. I want to show people different approaches to yoga, and that it's not always "slow, boring, nature sounds, or only for skinny white girls". Yoga is for every body. It really is. And it's about so much more than being flexible - sure, that's a fun reward, but there is so much more.
I like to say "the journey awakens the soul". I saw it a few years ago before I got into my practice, and it still resonates with me. Please remember, that everyone's yoga practice is different and means something different to them. And more importantly, everyone has to start. Your reason for starting yoga may not be the reason you stay, but I hope to awaken something in your journey that allows you to bring yoga into your life.
After graduating from YTT, my itch for learning was insatiable. So what did I do? Head to aveda.com and apply for Aveda Institute Charlotte’s September esthiology class. And I also picked a date in my planner to put in my two weeks notice at my full time job. If I was going to live this new lifestyle, and actively pursue my spa career, I wanted to really do this. And a life sucking job was not going to help.
I had been on a few more cosmetology school tours while I was in undergrad, and Aveda stuck out to me the most. Sharing the same beliefs, and connecting with the vibes from the people I met there, once again, gave me confirmation that this was the perfect next step. Until… the September class ended up filling up and I wasn’t able to start the program. I was devastated. All of my carefully curated plans were falling apart. I had already put in my two weeks, only working as a digital marketing freelancer. I was in no position to not start school in the next month. It was seriously my only option.
Shortly after, I took my second ever trip to NYC for the Afropunk Brooklyn music festival and I fell in love. My first trip to NYC was less than eventful, and I only wanted to return for a legit reason, such as a music festival with friends, which I did. This trip solidified my idea that I wanted to move out of North Carolina, my home state where I am born and raised, and move away to the big city. Before my trip I was leaning towards moving to Washington DC and had already started looking for marketing jobs, but NYC just called out to me, and I really felt like I could move to this city and begin to make my dreams come true.
Flash Forward a bit - and I am currently an enrolled esthiology student at the Aveda Institute New York. Who would’ve thought that a full esthiology class in Charlotte, NC would lead me to being the first person to sign up for the March NYC esthi class? I was determined to make this happen.
Naturally, I also add my yogic ways in all that I do, like remembering that it is a good thing to stay a student, and sometimes it is necessary to unlearn the things you thought you already knew. I like to be open to different perspectives and new ideas, as I do not know everything, nor do I try to. You would think I’d have all the expectations in the world since I’ve wanted to do this since I was 15; I just wake up everyday feeling powerful that I decided to stop only designing the life I’ve always wanted to have, and actually start living it.
Back in 2014 I wrote 100 of my life goals, and it feels so good to know that I am succeeding in the direction I have chosen for myself.