Happy girls are the prettiest girls

10.13.2014

Best advice #Blogtober14 day 12

Sometimes, it's hard for me to remember much that has happened in the past. I  have a halfway decent memory for people's names and obscure details about them, but I've always struggled with a more recollection based memory for details like what we did on a trip, or even what I wore a week ago. I would like to think this is because my brain is moving too quickly to process all of the information I see on a daily basis, and only big memories stick for long periods of time. The true reason is a total mystery to me.

So when the #Blogtober14 prompt yesterday was for the best advice you've ever been given, I immediately drew a blank. I would love to have a mind full of memories in which dear people imparted wisdom that stuck with me, but really only one really stuck out. I believe it stuck with me because I heard it so much over a year's time.

I spent a year learning the cosmetology basics at Fremont Beauty College, an institution that left much to be desired. From the 1970's style classroom set ups, to the less than stellar product assortment, the place was kind of a dump. The reason I chose to do my year-long cosmetology course there was simple: they had an open night program when I needed one, and the tuition was offset by a county grant, which meant I would only pay a fraction of the cost, already much lower than many of the schools that were closer to me and more prestigious. So off to Fremont I would go each evening and all day on Saturdays, fighting commute traffic and wasting an hour of my afternoon in the car. Eight months I spent doing this before I was able to transfer to the day program for my last four months of school.

One of my instructors, a beautiful and sassy black lady named Ms. McInnis (funny how she was African-American, yet had a very Irish or Scottish sounding last name), was full of spunk and loaded with catchy phrases. She would provide assistance, instruction, and offered us a laugh when we found a situation stressful.  During those stressful moments, after offering her opinion on how to correct a mistake or how to go about achieving the magic some client was asking for, she would laugh and remind you of a small piece of advice she gave freely: "You gotta fake it till you make it".

Maybe hearing this at first, I missed the full meaning of it, but after a year of hearing it regularly, it finally hit me. In order to be successful and make people trust in your skills, you have to project that you know what you are doing and are already successful. Ms. McInnis knew this, and was able to sum it up in an inspirational poster kind of way.

I took it to heart when I applied for apprenticeship and assistant positions at salons. Fresh out of beauty school and holding my state license, I only had my intuition and a year's worth of half-decent school behind me. I needed those salon jobs to hone my craft and figure out just what I needed to be a better hairstylist. I would learn a lot while I was assisting, and I would figure it out, eventually.
Sorry for the blurry photo, it's the only one I have with my beauty school diploma
I applied it when I sought out a photographer to work with in developing my portfolio. I had never done any pin-up style hair before, but it looked easy enough and I quickly mastered the basics and had a portfolio within a summer's time. Once the pin-up port was full, I moved on to other areas, continuing to use this motto to bolster my confidence with each new endeavor. If I didn't know what I was doing, I learned really quickly, but I always looked confident and capable on the outside.
 I still use this advice on a daily basis. Sometimes a new challenge walks through your doors that you have never experienced. You still have to confidently approach the situation and make the best of it. Or turn it into a learning experience. Either way, it's a great piece of advice, probably some of the best I have been given. That I can remember, anyway.
Helene in Between Blogtober

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