Funny thing is, this wasn’t the plan.
Starting esthetician school was a last ditch effort for me. I’d dropped in and out of college and dead end jobs since graduating high school. I was 25 and still trying to “figure it out” wasting so much time and energy trying to do just that. Looking back now, there was no such waste.
I started esthetician school in 2016 with the bright idea that in just a short 6 months, I’d have my license and could start earning a real living… which would buy me some time to figure out what it was I REALLY wanted to do with my life.
Joke’s on me, because I fell in love with esthetics during my time at the Aveda Institute New Orleans. Once I'd gotten past the nerves, I realized I possessed a pure, natural talent as a facialist, and my clients noticed too. Maybe I was on to something.
While in school, I managed a near by Massage Envy clinic that I'd previously worked at. The clinic offered esthetic services and my plan was to transfer to an esthetician position once I had my license, move to New Orleans, build a clientele, and potentially start my own practice.
But you know what they say... "when you make plans, God laughs." As it turned out, my superiors at work didn't want me as an esthetician, but wanted me to continue in my managing position. I get it, it was actually a step down with a pay cut from what I was already doing, but I finally knew what I wanted to do.
Meanwhile, my uncle had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer with a prognosis that was, for a lack of better words, less than ideal. My plan to move to New Orleans was quickly put on hold as I wanted to be there for my aunt and uncle.
I reached out to a salon in my home town to inquire about renting a room there. A scary move for a newly licensed esthetician, but I knew it was the best choice, as it gave me the flexibility to join my aunt and uncle on doctor visits.
October of 2017, I started my journey of self employment and "Skin by Liv" was born inside a tiny room at Hair Unlimited.
Lot's of weeks started with zero appointments on the books. I often worried how long I could afford for this to last. Thankfully, I was blessed with extreme generosity from friends and family in my personal life, and as far as my work schedule, some how, it always seemed to work out.
Fast forward to 2020. After a long emotional battle, my uncle entered remission, free of cancer, and referred to by his doctors as "The Miracle Man." Faith and hope brought us to this point. I was on a high, my worry had been lifted, and word of mouth was bringing me success in my work life. Life was on the up and up. Then... a tragedy I never would have expected in a million years struck my family.
My 31 year old brother, Zach, passed away suddenly on February 29, 2020. My world shattered. My big brother, my protector, my friend, gone in an instant. Life turned dark, and I turned in, shutting the world out. My aunt did my grocery shopping and made calls for me to reschedule clients since any form of social interaction was out of the question for me in the moment.
After 2 weeks of grieving, I decided I needed to return to work. Not that I wanted to...like at all.
The global pandemic was both a blessing and a curse for me. I had more time to sort through my grief, but fear drove me further in to solitude. While I do feel like the alone time helped in some ways, ultimately it proved to be detrimental in others. I'd lost my drive, my passion, and connections I'd had with people weakened. The dark got darker.
I had no desire to return to running a business, I didn't even know if I wanted to be an esthetician anymore. Not that I had any other ideas or any motivation to try something new, so after 2 1/2 months, in June, I reluctantly returned to work. I tried my best to push through and rekindle the love I had for my career. I started focusing on my mental and physical health, and slowly but surely, I started to feel a little better.
Then came November.
My aunt who I'd prayed with through my uncles cancer battle, who'd pushed so diligently to get through to me during my darkest days and tried to help restore my faith, passed away suddenly on November 7, 2020. I went completely numb. Total autopilot. I went back to work after just a couple of days and simply moved through the motions for the next couple months.
The new year, the thought of SOME new beginning gave me just enough hope to dream.
June 2021 I opened my books in my own store front studio. A rebirth for not only Skin by Liv, but Liv herself. Through the hills and valleys of entrepreneurship, and many threats to run away, I found meaning again, rekindled the love for my career, and embraced my passion. My esthetics practice is ever evolving, as am I. The last few years have been such a blessing. What a ride.
Every experience I’ve had lead me straight to where I am. Where I feel I’m meant to be. Where I'm destined to make a difference. Every dead end job, every person I’ve met, every move I’ve made taught me lessons that came in handy in future situations. Every victory gave me new hope and every loss gave me more strength, and it all seems to tie together. A devine journey woven intricately and intentionally together by even the seemingly tiniest instances in life.
It's my journey. I'm Liv.