And that was the deciding factor on my first [and last] trip to a hair academy. I was told that the more vibrant, colorful, shimmer and glitter-like eye shadows are for the younger generation and it looks too juvenile on me and inappropriate for a woman of thirty-something. The hair stylist’s comment really hurt me. I could feel it devouring more of my already low self-esteem on this day. At least I can’t say I didn’t put forth an effort to appear professional, ‘career woman’ like.
And the comment came from a twenty-year-old hair stylist that did my hair and makeover one cold, sunny pre-spring day. I was experiencing an incredible low point in my life during the beginning of this year when I was pre-selected to enter a pilot career program that had disaster written all over it (not literally, but it was poorly implemented) and terribly flawed from the start. It was one of those ‘free’ things to do with no strings attached, so it seemed at first glance and instead, turned out being quite the opposite.
The severe penalty for quitting was making the student that dropped out the responsible party for the entire program failing and it was a heavy burden to carry five days a week for two months. And this warped mental conditioning was just the start of it. The berating I had to take everyday in this pilot program made this all expense paid trip to the hair academy seem like a joke.
I didn’t say much to the young hair dresser who thought Lynyrd Skynyrd was heavy metal music. And I won’t verbally cut loose on anybody for not knowing any different. The right categories do get confusing nowadays because there’s classic rock, classical music, funk, disco, rap, techo, nu-metal, heavy metal, etc. So me and this young hair dresser really didn’t converse much. The music was cranked up so loud in this building that she couldn’t hear a word of my soft-spoken conversation and I couldn’t make sense of what she was most certain was ‘heavy metal’ without a doubt. I don’t want to break your heart, but Lynyrd Skynyrd is a Southern hard rock band, not heavy metal. When I think of heavy metal, Judas Priest pops into my head. I so love this band as far back as 1986 although they’ve been around a lot longer than that going far back as the 1970s. And if you must listen to Judas Priest get one of their early Lp’s or ‘vinyl’ for the young crowds. Don’t buy it on cd. CD’s just compress the true sound and make music sound flat and lifeless in my opinion. On this day in particular perhaps a part of me just wasn’t ready for a change. I’m extremely possessive of my hair and only let a select few in my family trim the split ends when needed. And it had been years since I last let a hair stylist touch my hair.
I decided to go for a spiral perm like I once had when younger. And the end result? Well, it didn’t make me feel glamorous or pampered. I was riveted to the edge of that barbershop chair, fingers clawed the armrests for dear life. I couldn’t even allow myself to relax for one minute I was so nervous. I looked at myself in the large mirror before they gave me a makeover and faked like I was happy with the perm but it looked nothing like what I once had years before, not even close. Since I wasn’t paying for this (the pilot program was), I was really at the mercy of just keeping my mouth shut. The program’s budget only allowed one hair style and a makeover, that was it. There was no room to make it right for the customer.
A part of me wanted to die on this particular day at the hair academy. I didn’t feel beautiful. I didn’t see myself as pretty or jaw-dropping gorgeous, either. I felt like an old hag. Then came off my makeup that took me two hours to apply that very same morning. It’s very outdated, but I really don’t want to be shoved into this newer makeup trend that just made me appear much older than I am and it was, like, totally disgusting. There’s a part of me that will never let go of my youthful days gone by. And there will always be that part of me that will stay young inside. And I always heard many times over, “Don’t lose sight of your youth!” I haven’t and certainly appear younger than my age.I’m very thankful for that, too.
More and more my fragile feelings, combined with the stress of this pilot program that left me gone from 7 am until shortly after 6pm every day for the last two months, was beginning to erode my self-confidence. And you weren’t getting paid for your time either. You could receive 9 credit hours that transferred over to your college education, but the sponsors strongly discouraged opting for this route rather than accepting one of their chosen careers that not everybody was physically or mentally cut out for.
I was also faced with two choices: steel toe boots and/ or scrubs. I don’t have the patients to work in a healthcare related field nor the emotional stamina, either. Factory work, been there and done that. It is extremely difficult work, trust me on this. It is not as easy as the sponsors make it sound with their come on lines;
Can you read a tape measure?
Are you good with basic math?
Can you lift more than fifty pounds?
Can you understand blueprints?
If you say yes to all the above, then you’re the person we’ve been looking for… blah, blah, blah. But it won’t get you ‘hired’ and you find this out with two weeks left to complete the rigorous and tedious program.
I was desperate to get back into the workforce but really distanced myself from the others who had checkered pasts, criminal backgrounds, and were unable to keep and/ or apply for certain other jobs due to the wrong choices they made in their lives.
And here’s what made me so very grateful about my life choices: I didn’t break the law. I never went to jail or been arrested. And I stayed out of trouble.
So why’d they select me?
I was still racking my brain over this for quite some time. I’m so very blessed to have parents that kept me on the straight and narrow path. I’m also grateful for the diverse religions I had over the years growing up which helped to structure my family life as well.
And there I was ready to be bombarded with expensive cosmetics at the hair academy. Before I know it I hear from my hair stylist, “I’ll get you signed up for this shampoo and conditioner, those will be forty-four dollars, and two eye shadow pods (colors), and powder will bring your total to $180. Oh, and when you stop in just ask for (____), and you can pay with your debt card anytime.”
Money doesn’t grow on trees in my neck of the woods and am sure it doesn’t sprout leaves of fifties, one-hundred, or even a thousand dollar bills in third world countries, either. If it did, I wouldn’t trust my hair or skin to some random student that needed not only a passing grade, but also a *guinea pig*… err, I mean, client.
At the makeup table I see these astronomical high dollar cosmetics, some primer setting spray and was told by my stylist that my shimmer eye shadow was too juvenile for a lady of my age to be wearing. Well, slap me on the back and call me stupid. Is this set in stone somewhere?
I have never had anybody tell me to my face my makeup was too young for me to be wearing. It didn’t help matters much that I was seeing everything through hormone-colored glasses on this day, either. You know ladies, it’s that time of the month were everybody wants to run, hide and duck for cover because you could weep at the drop of a hat. And that’s what I felt like doing, crying a river.
Sure, I internalized what that hair stylist told me and took it the wrong way, but never the less…
Apparently there isn’t a ‘matte’ eye shadow for sale anywhere in my city. I ended up wasting my time going to many discount and retail stores in search of finding some eye shadow that was
a.) affordable and b.) was something I liked and was happy with.
I had no idea the shimmer, glitter, and shiny colors were for teens and Twenty-year-olds. I believe anybody at any age should be able to wear whatever makes them happy. My new makeover was slapped on half-assed. I really don’t like it when somebody is breathing into my face, but we all have to put up with irritations just so we can be on our way.
I reviewed the stunning new– oh, crap!
Did they really just give me the smoky cat eye treatment?! I looked like a raccoon with a perm! This was not what I wanted at all! It was horrible—just— oh, the humanity of it all!
I bit my lower lip and faked a pleased expression. I was awed by the fact of how terrible and old this hair stylist made me appear before my very eyes.
Oh, yeah, baby… Mr. Right (if I had one) would be horrified! There’d be no roses or candlelit dinner waiting for me when I got home. Had I met Mr. Right with a job eons ago, I wouldn’t be getting a makeover from heck. He’d probably pamper me the whole nine yards the right way and take me to a real beauty salon, or at the very least, pamper me himself. And that’s wishful thinking.
I washed off the makeup once I got home because it made my skin break out. I then took a comb to my perm just to murder the last spiral curl that reminded me of an old hag. I was not kind on myself, verbally speaking, that is. I was upset.
And the students right down the teacher scolded me the next day for brushing out my perm. Like… hello, it’s my hair, why get your big girl panties all in a twisted bunch over something as insignificant as me brushing out a hair style because I hated it. It’s my life, my hair– so there.
I was always cranky, hungry, and tired on any given week day and that’s never good. Feed me some fruit or raw veggies and I’m happy as a clam. But the vending machines where the program was being taught contained only junk food and soda, yuck! The typical feelings you will experience when you’re dead on your feet all day from working.
I don’t get to broaden my college education like the sponsors promised and damned myself for not entering college sooner (like straight out of high school sooner) and planned my life better. Then again, I didn’t plan that the economy and the workforce take a nose dive. I didn’t foresee there would come a day when the unemployment rate would outweigh available jobs in my lifetime.
I quit the pilot program with two weeks left to go until graduation and made sure to have all my things at home. If there was one thing I did plan right that was my resignation.
I turned in my letter of resignation over the weekend via email and received a reply, “Thank you, we’ll pass it along.” I never heard back after and was glad.
I found out much later that I’m quite capable of finding a job on my own terms without somebody else finding one for me from the bottom of the barrel and then the sponsors took their cut of a commission out of all the students paychecks on top of that for helping them get hired. Oh, and lets not forget taxes, social security, and other cuts that take flea bites out of a paycheck.
What do you have by the end of the pay day? Maybe just enough to pay the rent and little else.
I think the smartest decision I ever made was giving up during this pilot program. It not only brought me down emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically, but I hated the mean person it made me be those months I stuck with it. And I really felt bad for jumping on those around me after it was all said and done.
The sponsors would tell you up front if you have a support system in case this doesn’t work out for you. They don’t go into specifics and you soon figure out why they remain vague. The requirements and demands are ridiculous! As the program neared completion, the student was required to submit nine job applications per day and submit different cover letters and resumes on top of that. Talk about confusing as hell! Most of the companies I applied at I was denied by one due to lack of managerial experience. The other fast food places never replied to my online applications and one store in the mall that wasn’t hiring ended up phoning me months after I quit the program.
I, of course, was dealing with my grandma’s death and politely turned down the phone interview. I know they’ll tell you that using a death in the family is a very poor excuse that new employers DON’T like hearing, but it wasn’t. My grandma’s death was legitimate. My grief was through the roof and I didn’t feel ready to collect myself and move on.
I do pray Mr. Right will sweep me off my feet somewhere, somehow, someday, treat me with kindness, shower me with love and thoughtfulness, have a big heart and treat me far better than some poorly implemented pilot program ever did.
Thanks for reading, commenting, and liking. 🙂