Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fear # 38: Wax My Legs.

"Beauty is Pain." 
- my mother

In aesthetic school, practice makes perfect. To know exactly what our clients are going through during treatments, we must find out for ourselves. Over the next few weeks, we are learning about body waxing, and what better way to knock out the fear of pain than being forced to have my full body waxed?

Friday, I decided to overcome my algophobia (fear of pain) by having my legs waxed at school. Why waxing legs? Two reasons. 1. Legs are one of the most painful waxing areas, and 2. As students, we have never experienced waxing another person before. After hearing the horror stories of third degree burns and ripping off skin, I realized that putting my full trust into an amateur wasn't going to be easy.

I pride myself on my pain tolerance level, and I am usually pretty strong when it comes to experiencing pain in front of others. During this waxing experience, I tried to hide the discomfort... however... I could not help but wince as I heard the ripping sound echo through the classroom. With eyes watering, palms sweating, and teeth gritting, I endured 45 minutes of the constant, ripping, stinging pain.  

I think my childhood prepared me for painful situations like this. As a dancer, I was forced to squeeze into uncomfortable costumes, pull my hair into a skin-pulling tight bun, and wear makeup that took hours to scrub off until my skin was raw. Whenever I began to whine about the discomfort, my mother would remind me of her life motto: "Beauty is pain."

The waxing experience gave me nostalgia as my mind went back to those moments. With every rip, my mother's voice repeated the motto in my mind... Beauty is pain... beauty is pain... beauty is pain... And just like that, 45 nerve-numbing minutes later, it was over. 

So - was it worth it? For me, definitely! For others, maybe not! A few of my classmates took the leg wax challenge, and nearly came to tears as they screamed, "OWWW! Courtney made it look so much easier!" This made me feel pretty strong, and I owe it all to my mother. In so many ways, beauty really is a pain... But overcoming the fear of pain brings about much strength, and as I have seen from my mother's example, I believe that strong women are always the prettiest.

From this funny fear, I have been reminded of one thing: sometimes the things that bring about the most pain are the most beautiful! Thanks for following, until the next fear... 


Fear # 51: Make a Big Decision.


Three simple letters, one small syllable, endless opportunities. Who knew that just uttering this three-letter word could bring about such a life-altering decision? 

As a college undergraduate in my early twenties, I thought my life was set. I was living in the greatest social scene possible (Provo, Utah: Mormon single young adult capital of the world), I had a plan for my future career after college (go on to graduate school for social work), and I knew exactly what I wanted out of life... Or, so I thought. When I received rejection letters from both graduate schools I applied to, I was absolutely and utterly distraught. I always had a strong feeling that I would continue my education after my undergraduate degree, and go on to change the world in some awesome way. What was I to do now? 

College graduation day came quickly, and real life stared me straight in the face. "What will you do with your degree in Human Development?" people would incessantly ask. I had nothing to say, so I beat around the bush and answered, "I plan to go to graduate school in the future and become a social worker." That sufficed for now. A couple weeks after graduation, I was lucky to find a full-time job. It was a great company, great pay, and temporarily kept my mind off of my future... But my thoughts went crazy in that cubicle as I pondered what I really wanted for myself. As I thought, I doodled. As I doodled, I came to three conclusions:

1. I love learning. 
2. I love working with my hands.
3. Most of all, I love making people feel good about themselves.

And so, I daydreamed of my possibilities. Should I... Wait a year to (maybe) get into a graduate school program, and then finally get a emotionally-demanding career that may take me away from my family life? Should I... Stay at my current job and drive myself crazy with endless "what if's"? Should I... Give up everything and serve a mission for my church?

And then, my mind wandered to a career opportunity that I had never, ever, ever imagined for myself. I had just graduated from a prestigious college, and thinking of starting over scared me. But what truly scared me was the thought of starting over in a field that I had heard non-stop mockery against: aesthetics. Yes, the beauty industry (shuddering).

"You just graduated from BYU and now you're going to beauty school?"... "Why didn't you start with aesthetics first?"... "Don't you think that you should try getting a job with your degree before you spend more money on school?"... "You are too smart to be an aesthetician"...  Mmm hmm. I endured hundreds of questions, which brought along thousands of doubts in my mind. But with every doubt, my faith in my future became more and more clear as I realized my main goal in life. 

I want a career. But first and foremost, I want a family. I want to make family my number one priority in life, and with a career as a social worker, I personally could not have the emotional capacity to juggle both. As an aesthetician, I could create my own schedule or even work from home. I look back on my childhood and have so much gratitude for my beautician mother that was able to give everything to her children. I want that for mine.  Thus, my goal of prioritizing my future family was the greatest deciding factor in choosing aesthetic school. 


So, here I am. Not at all settling - instead, I chose to better myself with furthering my education in a field that I am also passionate about. Against all odds, ignoring any judgment, and defying the stereotypes, I am training to become an aesthetician at Acaydia school of aesthetics. And I am absolutely loving it! The past six months of confusion, tears, and finding myself has led me to what I feel was the greatest decision for me at this time in my life. I feel that through this experience, God has shown His trust in me, while helping me gain an open heart and mind. I now look at people differently, because I want them to look at me differently. What we see is just the surface - beyond that is of far greater worth. 

Oh, and by the way, aesthetics isn't all pampering and prettiness. Aesthetics takes a lot of knowledge, professionalism, determination, and a serious love for serving others to succeed. It is better than I ever expected, and I am so happy!

This fear was a long time in the making, and I am glad I finally get to share it. I believe everyone should make at least one life-changing decision, because only through the terrifying chaos of the unknown are you able to truly find yourself. Thank you for reading! Until the next fear...