Updated: May 5, 2022
I think a lot of people don't realize how much words can affect someone especially at a young age. We all struggle sometimes with our self-esteem and confidence. Dealing with that can be a lot for a child, teen, a young adult and even adults go through it. When I look back at my life a lot of my depression came from my self - esteem being low. Don't get me wrong my story changed my life for the better. I can look back at the jokes and bullying and laugh because I'm understanding my worth now.
Let's start from the beginning. I was born and raised in Philadelphia in November of 2000. So it was probably around 60 degrees or less. The weather in Philly can be pretty harsh. When the cold season comes around like Fall and Winter the air gets cold, it gets windy, and then there's the snow.
Many people don't know this but that can trigger a lot of skin conditions such as eczema. My eczema started early childhood on my face and body. All year round the skin around my mouth would be a lighter complexion than my skin tone. Whenever any external or internal factors, mainly the weather, would change, it triggered my eczema. My skin would become red, itchy, and flaky. So as a baby with eczema I'm not aware that I shouldn't scratch it so it would get pretty bad. The more I scratched the worse it got. My mom tried things like oatmeal baths to help soothe it but I would still scratch it. I remember my mom telling me she used to have me wear the mittens for babies to stop the itching. Babies start to gain some strength in their muscles so I imagined myself taking them off and stills scratching lol. So that would make my eczema hard to control. My mom wasn't able to prevent it as much as she could versus when I was older.
Had to Diddy crop my mom. Sorry LOL!
I've been dealing with my skin condition all my life basically. But as I got older I was starting to notice I was different. I didn't realize people would treat me differently until I could understand words and when people were trying to hurt my feelings unintentionally or intentionally. My issues were visible to the eye so I couldn't really hide it as a kid. My cousins would tease me and make a little song about the my "spots"on my face. My great grandmother actually used to call me Spot. I didn't notice until I got older though. I remember in middle school from 4th - 8th grade I would hear some cruel stuff. I was getting teased about it. I learned people will be cruel and not even know it. But the kind of school I was going to it was already hard finding my identity. I mean I was a little black girl from the nice so neighborhoods in Philly in a predonminatly white school in a predominantly white neighborhood. I didn't' really know where I fit in but me being me I made a space for myself somewhere. I still struggled with who I was at a young age but I was figuring it out. My grade had a few minorities in it but we were kind of spread out into different classes. So at my school if you were a minority more than likely it would only be about two of us in a each class. I remember a classmate called me a cow. Now at the time my eczema wasn't as bad versus when I was baby where it was clear as day. It had cleared up but you could still see light spots on my face. By then I've heard every joke in the book it felt like nothing could hurt me. I was really unimpressed by the joke I actually didn't even get it at first. I just brushed it off and moved on with my pretty little teenager life. My looks never bothered me because my soul always felt so beautiful so I wasn't really concerned by his words. I'm glad I had this mindset at a young age but of it was me creating my own world and being in my head a lot. It was a gift and a curse. When you're in your own space a lot you distract yourself from the world. I did like to imagine a lot. I was into Bratz and Hannah Montana as a kid.
Back then I was a girly girl, I've always been one though. My first favorite color was pink. I used to play with the Barbies in the dream house at my cousin's house. So things like makeup came naturally to me it was just fun to do. I was pretty young when I started getting into makeup. 2aI wore mascara and eyeliner back in 5th - 6th grade. I remember going in my mom's room before she woke up to put eyeliner and mascara on. I used to take the cheese bus (the yellow school bus - in philly we say cheese bus lol) to school and leave out earlier than my mom. She was a teacher and always tired from work. So she never said anything because I was a teen and sometimes and I would slide off in the bathroom or my room and take it off before she could see it. But when I did remove my makeup I used water or makeup wipes (DON'T USE WIPES PLEASE!). They're just too harsh for your skin. But I stuck with water and wipes to remove my makeup when I could get money and grab some. My mom finally started to feel comfortable with me wearing makeup when she could tell I wouldn't stop wearing it. Around 7th grade I started to get more into the skin part with makeup. I knew I had to have smooth clear skin for my makeup to have a flawless finish. Primer became my first bestfriend when I thought about wearing foundation. In 8th grade I brought my first primer at Rite Aid and the Maybelline FitMe foundation. I got my first beauty blender from Sephora. I was watching Youtube videos for beginner makeup. I was on Pinterest loving the makeup looks. I wanted to create the same thing. But I was still insecure about my skin. I wanted to hide the light spots on my face that became really present in the summertime and wintertime. It became frustrating wanted to do a full face of makeup and the skin around your mouth is flaky by the end of the day. It just wasn't cute.
Before I started going to high school I did have a dermatologist that I would see probably four times a year. Mostly when the season changed I would have a flare - up and I would have to refill my prescription. The ointments were always the best. I would coat my face and body in it. The thickness would fix the dryness immediately. The steroids helped with the hypopigemenation. Not all eczema looks the same. Mine happened to be lighter than my skin tone which took longer for my skin color to come back. But I noticed brands like Aveeno and Vaseline would help with my skin. So I would rather be greasy and put my cream on with my makeup. I would try to blend it all together to where it looked like I had a glow look. That was a fail lol.
That's when it clicked I needed other skin products to accomplish my skin goals not just makeup. I love makeup but it was just a temporary fix. So Pinterest and Youtube became my best friend again. I wanted the infamous glowy skin the girls would have on Instagram. This was around the time people were using black African soap and witch hazel as their skincare routine. I hopped right on the trend of those two products. All I saw were the results of clear skin and not focusing on the before. All of the results from people with aceneic/oily skin. So none of it never helped my skin or made it too bad. It was ultimately drying out my skin. I had face moisturizes like Cetaphil but that wasn't enough for my dry skin. I was using the Shea Moisture black soap at first until I found out that wasn't the real black soap. I found that out through Pinterest when I wanted to do DIY stuff for my hair too. Once I started using the real African black soap which is not black it's actually brown and uneven. You'll know its real because it'll be wrapped in Saran Wrap. But the soap was way too harsh for my eczema around my mouth. It would sting a little but I just assumed it was working.
I was washing my face with the black soap and face scrubber. I hate that for myself...if a product is burning remove it immediately. And if you still have a spin brush I would toss it they hold too much bacteria and are too harsh for your skin. It's doing way more harm than good.
Once I realized what worked will with my skin condition and what didn't I saw a major improvement. I was slugging before slugging became a big thing. Slugging is en you slate vaseline before bed at he end of your nighttime routine. It was something about spreading the vaseline all over my face before bed felt so rejuvenating and soothing for my skin. I would coat my face with the vaseline after a shower. Vaseline was like a healing effect from everyday stress on my skin but still moisturized it. I still tried other things like turmeric masks which left an orange pigment in my skin but also brightened my skin tone. It didn't really change my hypo pigmentation. The Aztec clay mask was pretty fun to do but this is more for oily/combo skin. Honey and oatmeal were great ingredients for my masks! I would make lip scrubs with olive oil and sugar when I noticed my lips peeling in the cold. I would do avocado treatments on my hair and used the rest for a face mask. Pinterest was my go to for skin and I started to learn what was good and what was bad skincare. I also started building a better relationship with my dermatologist. My first dermatologist office was downtown at Drexel they were actually medical students training in their residency. There was always a lead doctor but the residents were mainly prescribing my creams and explaining my treatment. They did a good job at explaining what was happening to me but I still needed more information. By the end of my high school years I had saw my first esthetician.
Ms. Darrell is my step mom's bestfriend sister. She had been doing my sister and step-mom's lashes for quite some time. They were always beautiful sets with bottom lashes. I finally got my first set of lashes done and fell in love with the experience. The atmosphere and space was so comfy and calming. It reminded me of my childhood and pretending to be a princess.` I fell asleep during my session. When I woke up my lashes were gorgeous and she even put a lip balm on me. I was obsessed! I couldn't believe how relaxing it was. This was the greatest self-care experience of my life. I love you Ms.Darrell! Thank you Ms. Darrell!
The only service I ever got from an esthetician were lashes so I wasn't too sure what a facial fully consisted of. I knew of what because of my lash tech. Ms.Darrell was also doing my step - mom's facials as well. My Step - mom would come back after her appointments with glowing skin. I loved it!
I graduated in 2019 and I went to college for 3 months at FAMU and came back home. I wasn't too sure what I wanted to do but I knew I had to do something. Couple months went by and I got my first Brazilian wax in Miami at European. I actually liked the experience and results and wanted to try out waxing myself. I taught myself the basics of waxing but I wanted to do it the right way.
I brought all the equipment and supplies I needed from a steamer down to the wax. I had a massage build as well. I started off small with my waxing parts like my underarms.
This was the mist of the start of my prime. I'm really that girl! I was getting cute and taking pictures it felt so good like I was finally becoming myself. Looking at now I'm not too sure who I was lol cause the bodysuit was way to small on my boobs LMFAO.
It was hard at first but I got the job done. I did my research on the internet and Youtube before hand. I was watching other waxers and their techniques. I started off twirling a popstick around to pratcice the msucle memory. It wasn't hard it was alaywas about controlling the wax. Then I focused on the temperature of the wax. I had a small double wax - pot which I still have and love. I would practice my technique more and more but I still wanted to get better. So I wanted to go to school for it. Everything beauty had inspired me to be me.
I started to do my research on esthetician schools in Philadelphia. This was still during the pandemic so a lot of schools weren't taking students. My first choice was Jean Madeline but the next class didn't start until August and it was January and I was ready to start school yesterday. I couldn't wait to start it was like my calling. Before I even started school I was booking appointments and learning from my experience. I knew I had a passion. I found a school not too far from the wax center I was going to and where I lived. The first day was at then of March I took the chance and attended the Beauty Institute.
I had an idea. I had a plan. I was a solo esthetician before I even went to school. I knew I wanted this to be something. I was already posting pictures of myself on Instagram and my work. In high school my sister and I became super close. She had a boutique and was selling clothes and bathing suits. She needed models for her pictures and used me. She would do my makeup and hair and we would take pictures with different outfits. I started selling accessories so we would put her clothes with my accessories and take pictures and videos all night. This was always a fun thing for us. So my Instagram photos were coming out super cute and people were actually liking them. I was going to school learning about skin and facials and taking pictures.
This helped a lot with my confidence. I was starting to become myself and finding out what I like. As an esthetician you need to have confidence in the room with your client. You either got it or you don't and I happen to have it. LMAO but seriously it took me a while to realize that my confidence had to be built from within. It took some time but I love myself. I am proud of my story and accomplishments.
This is me now. I've grown so much. Like a little butterfly.
I'm sill getting to know myself. That was the best part of my journey though. I got to look back and really get to reflect. My advice for the other "baddies" out there just become more involved with yourself. It's really about self - love and not giving a f*ck what anyone thinks. You know what YOU are capable of don't let anyone ever tell you anything different.
If you read it this far. Thank you for reading and I hope this helped someone. Comment your skin story below and share. This is a space. No judgement.
Thank you to everyone who helped me along the way.
Love and Light
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