Something so natural as combing hair and styling braids what second nature to me. Sure, I found a little guidance or trial it out myself; but the natural gift of doing hair just Was. Truthfully, I had no clue hair could be an actual career. I grew up in a small cow town, with one blinking stop light and a heart full of dreams. I didn't know where I wanted to end up, but I knew there wasn't it.
It wasn't until I was flipping through a random magazine in my high school library, that I saw an ad for applying to a well known cosmetology school. I remember it like it was yesterday; it was a contest for best essay written as to why you wanted to become a hairstylist. I didn't think much of the contest, but my mind went wild. Thoughts like, "wait, what? This is an actual thing I can do with my life and career?" and other things like, "why has no one mentioned this before?"
You see I literally was thee girl all my friends came to for hair advice or more notable, updos for all our school dances. From the time we started attending dances, it was my house everyone would hang at. We would all pile into my living room or bedroom, music on, curling irons heating, glitter and glossy hair pins, multicolored elastics from orthodontic work and braces, as well as hair spray that Im sure is now illegal. One by one, I would twist and braid and pin and curl. I couldn't get enough of the creative freedom. It just oozed out of my finger tips. What really made me think "hmm maybe there is more to this hair thing" was the fact no one else really wanted to do mine.
If I wasn't mimicking Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen hairdos, I was reading up on the newest trend in Glamour or Seventeen magazine or begging my small town hairstylist to try do my hair like my celebrity idols (Christina Aguilera and Mandy Moore I see you). At a young age, I knew I found my passion. I was instantly hooked. I eventually attended the same cosmetology school I saw in that fateful magazine ad, Paul Mitchell The School, and spent nearly 15 years pouring myself into the hair industry.
It was great! Until it wasn't. It was me that changed and I knew I had to grow. Someway, somehow I couldn't bare to be stuck. Herbalism called my name. Spiritualism called my name. My intuition was beating louder and more deeply again. Passions and pleasures I had turned off eons ago came flooding back in. It felt exhilarating and exciting and new again...and also confusing and overwhelming.
For a long time, I balanced my two lives; the hairstylist & the herbalist. I kept them intentionally apart for years; because who is going to listen to an herbalist who does hair? Or at least that was my partial thinking. Mixing conventional color chemicals daily, working with lord only knows hair products, the unrivaled drama and insane mean girl vibe, it just didn't mix. Until one day, I randomly posted a "Fun Facts About Me" image on Instagram with the tagline, "Fun fact: I do hair and have for the past 9+ years. The hair industry has been huge motivator for why I began Wildflower Gypsy (edit: my former business name) and I can't wait to see where my plans and dreams takes us this year. Natural and organic, nontoxic, eco friendly hair care coming this February." Dated January 10, 2017.
From that second on, I couldn't hold back anymore. I found camaraderie in a few stylists, saw the need of herbal hair care within the beauty scene and understood that I was safe and loved enough to chase this new dream. I Dove headfirst into every and any book, guide, course, article scientific or not, that had to do with herbal hair. Even things you wouldn't even think of. Like the constituents of certain flowers and how those elements can shift or delay natural hair color options. Or whether an oil or a wax is clean enough, necessary or what our hair ACTUALLY needs beyond what big box brands have sold us. It was intense and deep and so, so fucking powerful. I couldn't stop. For yearsssss and years I studied and poured myself into this project. I started studying herbal magick that could be reused for hair care, or looked deeply into the realm of natural fiber dyeing and how it could be translated to human hair.
It was a hunger I couldn't satisfy until I ran myself into the ground. Until my excitement and knowldge poured out faster than I could properly reroute. In a way, this major mishap helped me to stop fully. To look at my own involvement. To understand human behavior and how little our boundaries can be crossed even with the best intensions. Sometimes even our best wishes are misguided. Not in a failing kind of way, but more of a 'not in the best interest of my higher self and life path."
The last year has been a lot. A lot of deep self worth discovery. A lot of realizations of my own baggage, my own suffering and ways in which I banter back and forth with myself but never truly make progress. It's safer to stay stagnant than to express my true self. But I also learned to speak my mind, to face my demons and to actualize what I feel, what I need, my expectations and what I will no longer stand for.
I am not here to be devoured by a starving hair industry who devalues health over profit. I have no value to give to an industry that refuses to look at its own suffering and devaluing demeanor only to realize at the end of the day, they created their own monster of men. Men as in people, humans. Men as in expectations, the way we treat ourselves, view our worth based on if we have the latest and greatest color or extensions or if we're doing the right best thing at any given moment. True worth starts from within and pours Out. No one will save you but yourself. A tough pill to swallow but something I have learned and lived deeply in the 36 years of my life on this Earth.
To know your worth is to also know you have values and choices and freedom in expression. You are not less than *ever* for how and what you use to express your unique imprint. I know I am not for everyone and that's okay. I would rather be judged for my free will then commended for my pestilence.
I am unsure of the future of Wildflower and The Rose but I know I am done hiding. I am done running. And I am certainly done berating myself for something I know is important.
love & luck, Chels