Communication is a natural part of our industry. Clients sit in our chair and immediately let their guard down because there is something therapeutic and trusting about getting their hair done. We of course listen, and give advice, because they are like extended family to us, and we ultimately care for them.
A couple of years back I had an interaction with a client of mine, a woman who is still a dear client of mine and has been for years. She asked me one of the most difficult questions I have ever been asked and I still can't shake it.
We began the appointment prepping, cutting and gabbing, as always, when we began talking about something I wasn’t quite ready for. My client was telling me that her son (a sophomore in high school) was struggling in school, his grades were low and he was suffering from a lack of excitement and enthusiasm. While at home he was filled with interests, in school he was lifeless. She told me that he loved hair, special effects makeup, fashion and art, however he just didn't know how he could collide his two worlds; this passion of fashion and art, and high school life.
She told me that her son had mentioned going to cosmetology school for the last two years of his high school career and she immediately shut down the idea. She insisted, "that's not school, it's a hobby and a way to get out of real work." Next, my client asked me a question that would crack my heart forever. She said, "I love that my son is so expressive and artistic but I just want him to get a real job. Fashion, makeup and art aren't real jobs. Ryan, how do I tell him that being an artist isn't a real job?"
This wasn’t the first time I had heard this type of reaction. A few weeks prior I heard a fellow stylist say the exact same thing about her daughter, ending her rant with "dreams don't pay bills."
After hearing both of these opinions, I thought to myself, DREAMS DO PAY BILLS. You just have to want it bad enough. Sometimes that means having two or three jobs to make ends meet or eating ramen noodles and carrot sticks to pay your Internet and cable bill on time. Living paycheck to paycheck until your big break comes.
What most individuals fail to realize is that; it doesn’t matter if you have a degree, or a GED, or you're a high school drop out, LIFE IS TOUGH. You have to work hard, VERY hard, and education is VERY important. But all of it is worthless if your heart isn't in it. Having an open mind and a willing heart is the most important thing in life.
I know a great deal of successful people, none of which are just coasting through life right now. We are all working our hardest to make ends meet. Yes, some jobs look more glamorous, when you don't see what is happening behind the scenes, but that doesn't mean successful people and dreamers alike didn't pay their dues to pay their bills.
Some of you may think that hairstylists, actors, makeup artists or culinary artists are all dreamers and those of us who are "making it" are lucky... however, luck has nothing to do with it. Support from family and friends, following our hearts, and education in the field of our dreams is what made "success" possible for my friends and I.
For those who don’t believe in the dreamers, just remember one thing; as you get your hair or makeup done, enjoy a delicious cocktail, labor over your skin regimen or don your favorite jeans for a coffee date, there is someone out there paying their bills, enjoying a much needed vacation, or simply just sitting pretty because of you – the ones without “real” jobs.
Before telling a friend, sibling, child or relative that their dreams are silly because of a statistic or a fear in your mind, just know that there are two sides to statistics...and it is very possible to be on the winning side. Your intentions are appreciated, but the lack of support and faith is devastating.
For the dreamers out there – Follow your heart, work hard, and support others because birds of a feather fly together, so come fly with us…