By Takiya Smith
I find myself in that usual place of staring at a flashing cursor prompting me to give it flight. My laptop is open and a blank screen is staring menacingly at me, waiting for pages to be filled. Yet my fingertips have not seemed to receive the message that my brain is sending. It’s been a long but quick weekend and as I purpose to write this week’s article, my mind searches but only my heart responds with a topic.
I must admit that I have been a little wary these past couple of days. I may be stepping a tad further out of my comfort zone, if there is such a thing for me, but as I continue to tap, tap, tap at these keys, I can only feel an inner urging to let what’s inside come out. With that said, I now know that someone just like me needs to hear exactly what needs to be said.
“This industry can be pretty cut throat” were my exact words to an associate over a business call this past week, and as I now think on my “accidental” entry into the glamorous world of beauty, I would have never imagined even understanding the caliber of weight those words carry. It’s just hair. It’s just nails. It’s just make-up. It’s just beauty — but sometimes, as I am fast learning, it isn’t always all so beautiful. From beauty school and on to salons, spas, competitors and employees, I have witnessed some of the most gut-wrenching and disturbing displays of disgraceful characters, professionally.
Yet on the other hand, likewise, from all of the above, I have seen, felt and shared some of the warmest smiles, most encouraging words and absolute camaraderie this side of the nation. So, what’s the difference? Why the good mixed with the bad and the ugly?
Success, in this industry, apparently can and will come with paying a price, yet to whom you owe that debt is solely up to you. Personally, my debt is to the one who already paid the price for me, Jesus Christ. Being a Christian is neither a secret nor a taboo in my business, so when it spills over into my columns I can only account for my talents given to being shared for a purpose and a reason. What comes with that, in addition to being recognized as “the lash lady,” has been a steady flood of opinions, comments, looks, whispers and stares. What started out as just a single mother leaving her past behind to make a future for herself and her children has turned into nationwide recognition complete with lovers, haters, debaters and relators. Professional business ethics have brought about exposure. Exposure has brought about popularity and popularity, well, that has brought out the “nasty” side of the nature of the business.
I have always disliked the word jealous because, to be honest, I never quite understood what anyone could particularly want that I possibly had. I was never the popular, pretty “it” girl and my self-esteem was always lower than the tides could ever get. So “jealously” was something people were of each other and certainly not of me. Reflecting back on my life and then versus now — with the exception that my esteem is healthy and I am happy with who I see in the mirror — I still do not utilize or claim to understand jealously as anything people would see of or say with regard to me. Yet, reflecting on the past four years in the beauty industry, I am impressed to encourage all those who have a true passion, a marked identity, respect and a common goal to succeed by sticking to what they know and love and never change for those who don’t and never will. Who you are and what you were created to do is all wrapped in your talents. You are more than just a cosmetologist or more than just a stylist, and certainly so much more than just the girl who does nails. You are an example, as well as a representation, of what you are doing so who, how and why you do it should stand on that foundation.
Your efforts should always come from the best place and with the utmost of intentions, integrity and honor to what you love. Turn that love into a passion and work diligently at it so that nothing or no one can stand in your way or take that from you. When you compete only with yourself, this aspect becomes your ethics and your ethics become your habits. Your habits become irreplaceable thus so are you. In a perfect world, everyone would get this. But for now, in my world, the ones who needed it just did.
Takiya La’Shaune Smith, licensed cosmetologist, mentor and owner of Beautique Lash & Brow, is an author and beauty columnist promoting inner and outer beauty, self-esteem, preservation and awareness. Follow her blog at www.blb¬boutiques.com find her on Facebook, email her at Takiya@Takiya-LaShaune.com or contact her at 843-263-0426.