How did I get here?
I find myself asking this question a lot. It usually pertains to the question “how did I end up doing hair and then how did I end up becoming a cosmetology instructor?” Growing up I had dreams of becoming a geologist, or a rock star (one is still a very real dream for me) but never a hairdresser, or a teacher for that matter. Yet here I am, doing both and in the beginning processes of opening a salon. So really…how did I get here?
Obviously that’s a loaded question that I may never totally figure out, but there are some points in my life I can identify that I think played major roles in how I got here. One big one that I think everyone can relate to is that I’ve had a lot of really bad hair cuts. I can distinctly remember walking into the local 10 dollar haircut store with my mom when I was a kiddo, excited to get a new do, only to be met by a bald fellow wearing a white dress shirt unbuttoned in such a way his glistening chest hair just seemed to pour out. But what really encompassed his whole look was the gold chain that seemed to be trapped in the Dagobah System that was his chest hair. (If you don’t know what the Dagobah System is, watch The Empire Strikes Back, it should paint you a not so pretty picture.) From that moment of the initial greeting on, the experience was tainted. So even if he hadn’t given me a haircut that was so awful it made my cry like a baby, I still wouldn’t ever want to go back to that place ever again.
Another experience I had that some of you might relate to is when my old man tried to save a trip to the beauty shop, and a few extra dollars, and decided to cut my hair on his own. Probably not a big deal if you have a decent set of clippers and a guard, but in this case all we had was my old mans beard trimmer. I think I remember saying “dad, I don’t think beard trimmers are the same as clippers…” and his response was something along the lines of “they’re close enough…” Needless to say the first cut was not only painful and terrifying but it was also the last. It was clear my dad had over estimated his good ole beard trimmer, and had to take me to get it fixed…Can you guess where he took me? Yep…the same place as before.
I think I had a different stylist that time, and I don’t recall crying after so it was ok in the end. But those two experiences remain with me to this day.
As I got a little older and girls started to not seem gross anymore I started going to Cole’s salon in apple valley to get my cuts. They always delivered a sweet cut and I always enjoyed the experience. By this time I believe my whole family had begun to go to Cole’s (I think they also had tired of coming home, looking in the mirror, and feeling slightly depressed at the sight of a 12 dollar haircut poorly executed by the local chop shop). My dad was a regular there and still is to this day.
Fast forward a few years, now I’m in college and I’m working at the local Blockbuster making 7.50 an hour. Aside from the 5 free rentals per week, it wasn’t the best job in the world as my folks made perfectly clear time and time again. It’s safe to say they had a right to get on me for the lack of motivation I had, I really wasn’t trying all that hard. Anyways, my dad had swung into Cole’s for a trim and asked them if they had any use for a 21 year old dude who needed a decent paying job. It’s true, I needed a better paying job to pay the bills I had already accrued from attending the numerous educational institutions in pursuit of “figuring out my life.” (what an expensive experience that was…sorry mom and dad.) Cole’s was hiring receptionists so they told my dad to have me come in. So I did.
From there I was hired as a service coordinator aka “receptionist.” At this point it was by far the best job I had to date and I liked it. I had no idea how I’d survive in an environment filled with stylists and clients and retail and so many females! But it shaped my work ethic in a unique way and really changed my life. After working there for a year or so I thought it was time to really decide what I was going to do with my life and stick to it. So I applied to the University of Minnesota for journalism and philosophy and I got accepted. I was going to be a writer. Then things started to get very real with applying for financial aid and registering for orientation and then classes. It was at that moment that my friends, family, and coworkers all seemed to simultaneously ask me “why don’t you just do hair?” I hadn’t ever thought about it seriously, but I really noticed a pattern in the guidance and council these people in my life were giving me. I realized, this pattern I’ve been in of starting something by hoping I’d like it and then giving up on it because I really disliked it, probably wouldn’t have ended just because I was going to be at a major university. So it sounds crazy and maybe it was a little bit., but I took a leap of faith and decided to go to the Aveda Institute for cosmetology. Within a week I cancelled my enrollment at the University and signed up at Aveda.
Hair school was a turning point in my life. It was extremely difficult but it was the first thing I finished entirely since high school, I met the girl I eventually married, earned a career, and now I’m here. Here I am with an adventure ahead of me that I am so ready to take. If these few instances taught me anything it’s that life is filled with grace that seemingly comes from nowhere. But it doesn’t come from nowhere, it comes with purpose and love. It comes from God, and through this adventure I hope his kingdom is glorified and that I become a better steward and servant of love with each mistake I make and each client I get in my chair. It’s all for a reason and by golly hopefully someday I get to know some of those reasons.
Thanks for reading 🙂