Its a chilly-crisp morning in the mountains today, and I am pondering over so many thoughts while enjoying an early lunch before the afternoon salon rush. Also- can we just appreciate that I'm actually eating and not settling for Starbucks coffee as my meal. The hairstylist struggle is real! Always bring your hairstylist a Starbucks beverage and I promise you'll receive a longer scalp massage because of it! No joke!
Anyways, as October comes to an end, tomorrow is the first of November! Which brings on the holiday season, more salon chaos - because naturally, everyone has to look better then their relatives at Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas get togethers (insert eye roll here) plus pictures, and memories being made, haha, so looking your best means hairstylists have no life from November 1st until after New Years- BUT, most importantly November marks my 5th month having lived states away from home and living in Denver. Say whatt?! Time is flying, and it has me thinking how crazy all this is for me, and how fast things are taking off!
This transition has been a huge adjustment, physically, mentally and emotionally. So allow me to back up a bit. Flash back to a year from now, I was completely booked out 3 months in advance, working 5 days a week & 10-13 hour days, my health was declining due to health issues, stress, over working from trying to excel in my career, my personal life was falling apart, and my Faith had been shaken - I. Was. Not. Me. - The only time I was truly happy and all that would melt away was when I had a color brush in my hand, and was painting balayage into someones hair. Not to mention, seeing my clients faces, is like seeing my best friends, so I always had lots to talk about with them and hearing about their day, helped me forget all about mine. So working was my happy place but also, I was so over doing it - Before I knew it, it was 9pm every night and I would be closing up the shop by myself, and heading home to eat, sleep and do it all over again the next day...After falling into this monotonous routine, over and over again, My health worsening, and my body responding with aches and pains I had never experienced before, I KNEW something had to CHANGE! Thanksgiving of 2016 was spent in beautiful Denver, Colorado, since my parents, sister and I drove the 14 hour drive from Illinois, to enjoy the holiday with my brother and his wife here in the city. It was the first deep breath I had taken in what felt like a year - We hiked the FlatIrons, in Boulder one afternoon, on a chilly day such as this one, desperate to take in some mountain views despite the chilly temperatures. While taking in the view, holding the crisp air in my lungs and clearing my head, I realized this is where I am meant to be. It just hit me, like a wall, everything at once, and I didn't want to wait any longer, or for this to just be an idea in my head - I wanted to make it Real! I Headed down the other side of the trail, my family a few feet behind me, as I soaked up this moment for myself, & for the first time in a long time, I took off jogging down the mountain, which turned into me running, I RAN. With the momentum of the mountain behind me, and the angle of which I was running down the trail, I felt like I was flying, looking over all the trees and tears in my eyes, not feeling my feet touching the ground, but hearing the scratch of them against the Earth... I set my heart in that moment that I was moving to Denver. It was a moment of "You just know, when you know" kind of moment! The first time I had ever genuinely, and truly felt that feeling about anything, so very surreal! I remember taking off and overhearing my Dad behind me in a disbeliefed voice say "Look at that, Catherine is running...that girl is running!". It caught me off guard as much as it did them, and in a way I was ready to run and leave behind all I had ever known, only to spread my wings and fly...
Fast forward to April 2017, and I took an entire month off work in Illinois, to drive out to Denver, by myself, to interview and find a job in this city my heart loved so much. I interviewed close to 30 salons, in the Denver area, finding so many options within this creative melting pot of artists! One thing that still sticks with me, is how gorgeous the mountains were in the time I visited in April. The snow was just glistening on the front range and sparkling on the back ranges- like laced dimension and perspective that captivated my heart. A beauty that I had never seen before - truly making you feel like a dot in the big picture of life. A couple weeks into my visit, and it was already Holy Week ( I am Catholic) as we approached Easter. Feeling overwhelmed, and heavy hearted about a lot of things in my life at that time, I attended Mass on Holy Thursday & just prayed my heart out. I asked God to give me a sign that I was doing the right thing, and to put me where I was meant to be. He had brought me this far- so I knew He wouldn't lead me astray. Literally, the next day, (on Good Friday) - Ruth and James Boutique Salon came out of the blue, recommended to me through a friend of a friend, and told me to go check them out! The interview process with the salon owner and the stylists, was the most friendly and organic experience I had yet to encounter! I felt inspired and a push to commit to this quirky and eclectic salon family - and on Easter night I announced to my family that I had chosen a Denver salon, picked an end date at the salon in Illinois and was going to be moved come July! We cheered over margaritas at Park Burger on Pearl street- a Denver must have, BEST BURGERS EVER! - surrounded by the people who loved me the most and supported my decision - I am so Happy I said yes, and that left me 2 months to wrap up everything in Illinois and get myself transferred and moved to Colorado!
Those 2 months were drawn out with goodbyes, and soaking up the final moments spent with my wonderful clientele, co-workers, family, friends... I sold everything I owned, gave up my hard worked for and established business, my beloved flower garden, my quaint little house, and the comfort of my hometown all for a Fresh Start, Nature, Art, Opportunity, and of course - the Mountains!
I moved out to Denver, with what only fit in my prius, and let me tell you- it was packed! My brother and his wife were kind enough to drive home to help with any bleed over of packages to place into their car and off I went! Also, my poor cat LooLoo, survived the 14 hr hour trek to the mountain range, but I'm pretty sure the tollbooth lady somewhere in Kansas thought my cat was dying of a disease- HAHA- Nope, just one very drowsy traveling kitty. BUT WE MADE IT!!! ME and my crazy cat!
So here I am! 5 months into this AMAZING transformation of myself and my career! I have sacrificed a lot as an Independent Stylist, but at least I am creating a clientele from scratch and customizing everything one step at a time! God knows your hearts desires, and He will always place those gifts on your path as you journey along! I always longed for being apart of something bigger then myself, but the truth was, I had to do something this bold and scary to learn about myself first and just so happened to find myself writing my own story! I have a story! It was the most terrifying and liberating thing I have ever done in my 24 years on Earth. I decided to stop making excuses, got myself together, took care of myself and focused on the path ahead, dancing to the beat of whole heart instead of a broken one...
Of all things in this, I learned that I'm kicking ass at only 24 years old, and for the first time in my life, that this is what Happy feels like & anything is possible- DONT BE AFRAID! JUST DO IT!
I'm being open about the struggles and the not so glamorous side of it, because it took a lot of heart and guts to get everything accomplished! However, I wouldn't trade it for the world, and i think its so important to grow in these younger years of our life, so I hope telling my story of my Fresh Start - helps someone else realize their dreams, and that it will make you jump for it to make it come true! Just have FAITH and follow your HEART! Life will all fall into place. Life is short, so go after your dreams, and move to that really cool place if thats what you want to do! I promise you, it will all be worth it & more!