So just looking over my previous articles I have noticed that I haven’t shared too much personal information. So, I thought I would lighten things up a bit by diving a little deeper today.
I want to share a little more about my personal journey in this industry.
Before I had an actual “job” in the aesthetic industry I had applied to take an evenings and weekend course to learn how to do gel nails. I was approved for a $16,000.00 student loan. I was so pumped. Finally, everything I had been dreaming about was about to come true! lol or so I thought. I went for my first day of orientation. Got to see the classrooms and even my station with all my tools. I was so excited. We shook hands and I was sent on my merry way. Expecting to see them all three days later.
Well, about two days after this, I received a voicemail saying that they had pulled the course because there wasn’t enough interest. Talk about defeated! I was devastated. This was my plan. Now what was I supposed to do?!
I gave back my supplies. Canceled my student loan and figured I was destined to work in retail for the rest of my life!
That lasted for about a month. I then decided to jump on eBay and Amazon to see if I could buy a gel nail kit and teach myself. At the very least, I could do my own nails and save my husband and I a little money. I did this for a little while. Practicing on myself and then rallying my friends and my mother to let me practice on them. I was doing well at the dining room table but I wasn’t generating an income.
My husband has always loved baseball. One of the women on his team told me about a job opportunity at a local hair and nail salon. I was intrigued, but had ZERO experience, so I kind of fluffed it off, “yeah right”. Fast forward a few weeks and I ran into her at another ball game. She asked me if I had applied for the job? When I told her no, she proceeded to get a little frustrated and said that she had put in a good word for me so I better get my ass down there and show my face! gulp*
So I threw together a cover letter. No resume because, I figured I had no real experience and they wouldn’t really want to hear about my dining room table.
To my amazement she called me for a job interview. Now this is where the fear set in. Who was I kidding I wasn’t a nail tech. I knew some basics but had very little experience. I mean how critical is my mom really going to be when she is getting free nails.
My First Anxiety Attack:
I was 27 years old when I went in for that job interview. Married and a mother to a four-year-old boy. I felt, up until that point, that I had it pretty together. I could tell something with me was off that morning while I was getting ready. I kept running over the steps in my mind. How to push and pull the gel. What to do first. What not to do. Man, I was psyching myself out. By the time I got to the salon, pulled into the parking stall, I was ready to call the whole thing off. Was the stress really worth it? I didn’t want to look like an idiot.
So in this type of interview you need to demonstrate to your future boss how you do gel nails. So she asked me to do a fill on her nails.
This is when it happened. I broke into a cold sweat. Before we even got started I excused myself to go to the washroom. There I was staring at myself in the mirror. Literally splashing cold water on my face. Shaking uncontrollably. “What is wrong with you”???!!!
It didn’t stop. I finally left the bathroom and went back to my station to make a complete fool of myself in front of this really nice lady. So I was honest. I told her that I really didn’t know what was happening to me, but I was going to try to fill her nails anyway.
To be honest I didn’t do a terrible job. I was just a wreck! I got all in my own head. I created a whole bunch of limiting beliefs about what I was capable of and certainly did not give myself enough credit.
To my absolute astonishment, she called me the next day and offered me the job! Lol but WHY?! How could she want this nervous wreck working for her? (another limiting belief) What I didn’t realize at the time was she and her husband were trying to have a baby. Her master plan was to find a “nail tech” that she could train seamlessly so her clients wouldn’t be able to tell the difference once she was on maternity leave. Such a smart business move BTW.
My First Day of Work as a Nail Tech:
So I showed up everyday so grateful and so excited to start my new career. I was now doing an apprenticeship under my mentor Dana. For six months I would sit next to her and watch her push and pull gel. How she filed. How she cleansed and primed. I could close my eyes and see her do it perfectly. I still can!
I had a little practice finger I would use and I would practice on myself. But I wasn’t allowed to have a real client until the six months were up. So I read a lot of nail literature and watched Dana perform masterpiece after masterpiece.
Finally my day came. I was ready for my first client. Which is hilarious because it was actually her aunt that she had brought in to test me out. I waited at my station. And as I watched this woman get out of her vehicle I could feel the anxiety creep up all over again. What was I doing? I’m not a nail tech! I’m an impostor!!! (literally what I would say to myself! How crazy!!) I actually envisioned myself standing up and running out the back door. Never to be seen or heard from again! Just, BYE! I’m not joking, I almost ran. My legs were twitching. I was ready to bolt.
But something kept me in that chair. And you know the funny thing, when you actually get real and get honest people are compassionate! She knew it was my “first day” and I told her I was nervous but would be able to pull it together. I had learned by this point that my severe symptoms of a pacin attack would only last a few minutes and then I would level back out. Just bare with me, I asked her.
Over the next few months I had a couple more attacks. Not nearly as bad as in my job interview. I also learned ways to help control them. Making sure I had eaten properly was very important. I found low blood sugar could tip me over the edge quite easily. But as with anything, the more I practiced the better I got and the fewer and less frequent my attacks became.
Ten Years Later:
Looking back on this crazy time in my life I am so grateful. What I thought were actual deal breakers were character builders. Thank God they canceled that course! I would have had almost 20k to pay back in student loans. In my experience I now know that I learned so much more from my two year apprenticeship than I ever would have in four months of part-time school.
I was bullying myself. I didn’t even give myself the chance to fail before I was already calling myself a failure. I would never let my son speak of himself this way but it was OK for me to sell myself short?! I am so grateful that I see the power in this now.
I was scared. Nervous and making myself sick. But, I persevered. I did it. I showed up as my authentic self and it worked! I am so grateful that I didn’t give up even when I really wanted to.
When I think of all the relationships and wonderful people I would have missed the opportunity to know, it just makes me shake my head. Sometimes these scary times are here to push us and help us grow. I was very comfortable doing nails at my dining room table. But, I wasn’t going anywhere. I wasn’t building a career or a future. I had to take that next scary step and the one after that and the one after that to actually make something of this.
I really hope your not selling yourself short. I hope you can show up as your authentic self in whatever you chose to do. It takes bravery to keep it real, but the pay off is worth it!
Does this experience sound familiar? Have you suffered from panic attacks before? How did you deal with it?
I hope you guys were able to take something away from this today. I’m so glad I stuck it out so I am able to share this story with you. Thank you all for your continued support. It means the world to me. xoxo
Good luck out there,
Cheyanne / The Nail Lamp Tramp