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I took a quick look back over my posts so far this year and realized that I haven’t said much, if anything about Beauty School and it’s become such an important part of my life!  So here’s an overview from the beginning:

I walked into school for the very first time right after I moved to Montana.  A man was at the front desk, (later I learn his name is Rayalf), and he called one of the teachers up (who turned out to be Kammi).  While I’m waiting for Kammi I notice a tall man with blue hair – that was Kyle, who turns out to be my Cwtch…

Kammi takes me back to her office and tells me a little bit about the school, introduces me to the owner, Misty, as “the girl with the nail hours”, assures me I am all set to start with the next class.

The school is much smaller than I expected it to be, in the bigger city I left I used to go to beauty schools all the time to get my hair done and this school is barely a quarter of the size of any of those and yet there’s between 30 and 40 students and three instructors, hmm, this could be interesting…

Fast forward about 3 weeks, I show up to the school and meet my 8 other classmates.  All nice girls and we range in age from 18 to me at 43.  The girl who was in her 30’s dropped out after a couple of months so now it’s just me and the younger ones, lol.  We spent roughly 8 weeks in the back room doing book work and practicing on mannequin heads before we were allowed to move to the front and work on the public.

Just writing this out I realize that none of this is the important part.  The people there, the other students and the instructors are what has made this experience so life-changing for me.

There’s lots of swearing, even from the instructors.  Anything that can be turned into a sexual innuendo is done so with a vengeance and everybody laughs like it’s the funniest thing in the world.  Rayalf, in particular, loves practical jokes and almost everyone affectionately calls each other Bitch or Dude, depending on the mood they’re in.  It’s a circus of chaos and craziness.  But here’s the thing – these people are a family.  They’re real.  In spite of the bickering and the arguing they get along most of the time.  They share their supplies and food with each other.  They listen to each other’s stories,  empathize and hug.  And aside from their moral standards being vastly different than my own they have a much healthier outlook on sex and sexuality than I do.  Granted, probably 99% of all people out there have a healthier view of sex than I do but these people are open and honest about it while at the same time being accepting of me and my beliefs, encouraging me to heal but not pushing me to go outside my moral boundaries.

Some days are hard because I can get overwhelmed with all of the emotions that go on in a building of 30 women and 2 men ranging from 17 – 60.  Even though everyone is always nice to me I can still be affected by the people around me being negative and petty to each other.  I have gone outside and cried many times.  I’ve even gone back on the happy pills because school can be so stressful.  I don’t like being on the happy pills again, I was very proud of myself for having gotten off them but I’m realizing that my body doesn’t handle stress yet the way it should.  It handles stress better than it did when I was married, way better, but it’s still not back to completely healthy… so happy pills it is.  I even stayed home one day as a “mental health” day and it was totally worth it.  I plan to take three days off a month to help preserve my sanity even though it will lengthen my time at school and cost me about $1400 in overages at the end.  Ugh.

In the end though, it is a crazy, insane kind of world and ultimately I love it.  My hair is blue with purple roots and for the first time in my life I have shaped eyebrows and fake eyelashes.  At school I have friends who love me and hug me and care about me and tell me I’m beautiful and that they’re glad I’m there.  I’ve been able to share my past with some of them and they empathize with me and are very supportive.  My favorite teacher, Kammi, just offered to rent me her spare room and be a part of her family, which I think will be lots of fun.

This group of people – this group of unchurched, largely immoral, profanity professionals loves, respects and accepts me more than any other group I’ve ever been a part of and none of them require me to become like them before being willing to give me their love and affection.

Being around these people both destroys me and builds me back up, but they build me up far more often than they make me cry.

I know I am who and where I am supposed to be.  I know I am doing what I am supposed to do.  Sometimes the being and the doing is hard but the knowing, the knowing makes it all worth it.

 

 

I passed the State Boards and am now a licensed Nail Technician!  Whoo hoo!

When I went on the Happy Pills it was partly because I sincerely believed I would be stuck in my call center job for at least another year before I could pay my school bill and be allowed to take the State Boards.  I was able to sell my sole possession of value the morning of the deadline to register for the Boards and had to take an extra half hour lunch to run the money to school one half hour before the deadline closed – I made it by the skin of my teeth and was walking on Sunshine, baby!

Then I got nervous.  The one thing I had never learned to do in school was Silk Wraps and they are a part of the Boards.  My only opportunity to go back to school and practice was 4 days before the Boards and I wound up having about 3 hours there, that was it!  Normally the school will have “Mock Boards” and take several hours and walk you through it one step at a time but because I was working I didn’t have a chance to do any of those.

My nervousness was not from being afraid I might fail the actual tests but rather that I might miss a step due to all the little requirements, regulations and red tape involved…

All my supplies had to be in individual ziplock baggies, one bag for each test.  All the supplies had to fit into a container with a lid that was no more than a certain size.  Sanitizing was key so I had to remember to sanitize my hands – and my plastic practice hand – before each procedure.  If I forgot to put a supply item in the baggie it was needed for it was tough luck because there was no getting back into your supply box once you’ve set up for each test.

I had to bring my plastic practice hand to the Boards with a set of nails already applied to it.  That was a difficult feat in itself because, as I found out the hard way, superglue does not hold the tips to the practice hand.  At. All.  Fortunately for me a quick search of husband’s garage yielded a suitable epoxy type glue that held the nails on very nicely.  In fact, those nails will stay on the practice hand until the end of time because the glue is that good!  So me and my practice hand (I decided to call it Gertrude) went to the State Boards and the first thing I had to do was give Gerty a manicure.  Halfway through the manicure portion I realized that I Had This and my nervousness went away – mostly.  The next test involved gluing a plastic tip onto the plastic tip I had already epoxied to Gertrude’s ring finger.  How hard can it be, right?  Ha!  Supposedly you’re supposed to file the new tip into the natural nail (by hand) so that there are no bumps or ridges at the seam.  (I say supposedly because the girl next to me didn’t seem to blend her tip at all.)  In my zealousness to get it “just right” I over filed my seam and took a big ‘ole chunk out of it.  The tip was still glued to the “natural nail” just fine but my smile line was completely ruined and so I tried to file the rest of the seam to match my over filing and finally had to quit when I realized that if I kept going I would wind up filing the whole darn tip off completely!  But it sure was smooth…  After that we applied the silk wrap to the middle finger, which I felt that I did a good job on, and then we sculpted an acrylic nail on the pointer finger using an odorless acrylic product.  That odorless stuff is weird!  And did I think to practice using it before the State Boards?  Nooooooooo…    However, I did manage to produce a good looking sculpted tip, if I do say so myself.  Finally I had to polish all of Gerty’s nails with a red nail polish.  Of all the tests this is the one that just about killed me.  Why you ask?  Because Gertrude is not real.  If she was her hand would be flexible and soft.  Her fingers would separate and move up and down, I would, in fact, be able to push four of them out of the way while I work on the fifth.  But Gerty, in all her plastic glory, is stiff and unmovable, somewhat like the Rock of Gibraltar, and while I was painting the third of the five fingers I smeared the first one!  And it just got worse from there…  Now each of these tests have a time limit and when the time is up you stop working, done or not, so I’m very frustrated that I keep smearing the best polish job of my life, getting nervous because the time’s running out, which made me smear even more… it was a viscous  circle!  In the end I managed to rescue my polish job and it was almost perfect.   The instructors smiled at me and even though they were not allowed to speak to any of us I felt like they approved and that I had done a good job, which was confirmed three days later when I saw on the website that I had passed, whoo hoo!

I also passed the written score with flying colors and IMMEDIATELY gave my notice to the call center.  That felt Sooooo Good!  Two days ago I started working at a salon and it’s been fun and exciting.  All the other girls who work there seem nice and willing to help me improve my skills so I’m very happy to be there.  This has truly been a Game Changer for me and I’m looking forward to the future!

OK, so maybe it started in August and ran over a bit into October…  Here’s the rundown, and my apologies for not having blogged for so long but I think you’ll understand:

August 27th – I turn 40.  (Not entirely bad news, it’s just a number, right?)

August 30th – Our washer and dryer died.

September 1st – Our hot water heater caught on fire and needed replacing.

September 4th – I lost my job and signed up for unemployment.

September 9th – We are not eligible for food stamps.

September 13th – GOOD NEWS!   I signed up to attend a beauty school’s Nail Technician program with my husband’s somewhat skeptical blessing.  I’m tired of the office life!  I have wanted to be a Nail Technician since I was in my early 20’s but the money and the time to go to beauty school never made it to my house at the same time so to make money I did what I was best at, answering phones and office work… for 20 years…  and now the opportunity of a lifetime, a miracle has come my way!

 September 16th – MORE ABOUT THE SAME GOOD NEWS!  My first day “back to school” and it was soooo weird after over 20 years.  I brought my paper, pen and pencil and I was so excited that my girls made fun of me and I didn’t care a bit!   I should graduate sometime in January of 2014 so it’s roughly four-and-a-half months and almost every day so far has flown by – I go home feeling like I had FUN at school, I really love what I’m learning!

 September 20th – My unemployment claim was denied.  (I am appealing it.)

September 21st – Our oldest daughter turned 18 and we had this HUGE party planned for over 3 months with 10 people invited… guess who spent money, lots and lots of money, that we didn’t have?

September 24th – I lost my phone.

October 2nd – My car died.  Dead.  Seized engine dead.  Over-sized paper-weight dead.  Tacky Red Neck Lawn Art Dead.  Walk to school and be late and then wonder how I’m going to get home dead.  Dead dead.

You know, sometimes so many bad things happen in such a short amount of time that all you can do is sit back and giggle hysterically.  That’s pretty much where I’ve been.  To tell the truth I’m kind of sitting back wondering what else could go wrong and thinking I might want to grab a soda and popcorn to watch the next disaster go down…

But in spite of all that something really good that has happened through all this.  I’m actually  very happy right now, strangely happy right now given all the above circumstances.  I don’t think I need my depression pills any more kind of happy, weird huh?  Somehow, for the first time since I was a child I 100% believe that God is fully in control and everything is going to be OK.  Not Never-Going-To-Have-Another-Problem-For-The-Rest-Of-My-Life-OK but All-My-Needs-Will-Be-Met-And-Taken-Care-Of-OK.  I actually have more peace and trust in God more now than I did when I had my job and was making good money!  Have you ever heard “Blessings” by Laura Story?  I feel like I’m living it…  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CSVqHcdhXQ  I KNOW everything is going to be OK and I haven’t felt that way for a long time.  I guess if this is what it took to get me to this amazing, emotionally stable place then I wish it would have happened earlier!

What my life looks like now:
I’m looking for a job I can do after school and on weekends.
I’m trying to get my Pampered Chef business to make us some money.  (I had two shows last month, whoo hoo!)
I’m wondering how I’m going to make up the two house payments and numerous utility bills that we’re behind on.
I’m driving the car my nearby best friend is selling me on payments.
I found a cheaper phone plan and my entire family has new phone numbers <aggravating> so now I don’t have to find my other phone, lol!
We replaced the washer and dryer with used ones but unfortunately had to buy a new hot water heater.
Starting next week I’ll be ready to give manicures and pedicures to paying customers at school now so hopefully I will start getting tips!

Life is life.  God is God.  God is bigger than Life.  Life is going to be OK.   🙂