Brave, strong, beautiful, courageous, pretty, funny, tough, inspiring..... These are all words that were spoken to me and about me by people throughout my life. Words that I never really believed were true. I always felt like people gave me constant affirmation to assure me that despite my imperfections, I was still all of these things. Growing up with a physical disability made me feel as though I constantly had to prove to everyone that I was good enough, despite my limitations. This mindset of needing to prove myself only intensified as I entered adulthood and the workforce. During my late teens and early twenties I encountered several instances of discrimination while interviewing for positions that I was clearly qualified for on paper. Even in instances when I was employed in a 9 to 5 job, I always felt like I should be so lucky that they gave me a chance considering my disability. So I was still having to be the best, make no mistakes, and settle for less pay than I was qualified to receive with my level of experience. At one point, I wasn't only trying to prove my worth despite being disabled, but despite being a disabled woman working in a 'man's world'. Constant situations like this caused me to take matters in my own hands and become a Certified Freelance Makeup Artist. In the past 7 years of being in the beauty industry, I have had the opportunity to build a solid portfolio, grow in my artistry, and gain confidence not only in my work, but in who I am as powerful woman. Yes, I have and still at times encounter awkward moments when a client did not realize that I was disabled until I showed up for the the actual appointment. When this occurs I no longer feel instantly discouraged. I simply pull out my tools and get to work while making casual conversation and taking an interest in every person that sits in my chair. Before long, the awkwardness is gone and I'm seen for who I am.... an everyday woman, no different than anyone else. There is no greater feeling than seeing my client look into the mirror and to see delight in their eyes. Not only was I able to make someone else feel confident & beautiful, but I have created a life where I am able to surpass my limitations and empower someone in the littlest way. In this moment, I finally truly believe that I am brave, strong, beautiful, courageous, pretty, funny, tough, and inspiring.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to my story! Keep your eyes peeled for our February Spotlight!