My mom was apparently disappointed with the first installment of my blog. Things that she thinks that I should be writing about:
"You are a college graduate
You owned a successful business that you sold
You were an editor of a newspaper
And why you were you met many famous and important people Including Governor Schwarzenegger
And congressmen and Senators ( which one of presided over your wedding )you have traveled to many places had a lot of writings published in newspapers your still young and your just getting started."
These things all happened. They are just not really what I live with today. So here's the long and short of it.
I DID graduate college. I didn't quite reach my goal of attaining a PhD, stopping just 8 years short at my Associate's. I actually haven't considered that goal not to be accomplished, however, college is expensive. After completing my degree in "you will never use this for anything because it is just general education" and also completing beauty school, I began work as a nail tech in a salon where I was lucky enough to be mentored by the best of the best. I blame her for my distraction. She taught me so well and made me so good at nails that at the tender age of 22, when I was pulling in thousands of dollars a month and watching all of my Bachelor Degree bestowed friends getting turned down for job after job, I said the proverbial 'fuck it' and stopped attending classes. Big Mistake #1. But it is what it is (did I just use that cliché? I hate that saying, I must need a serious caffeine fix) and we get to where we are because of the choices we make. Plus, I'm actually just where I want to be so this is okay.
Then what? Oh yeah, making tons of money, working 60 hours a week, partying nights at weekends with friends (parents, do not let your kids go to Chico State) and generally living the life. In walks Douche Bag #1 and I decide to leave it all to run off to Sacramento and live with him. He thought my life needed "fixing" desperately and he was older and drove a luxury car so he MUST have been right, right? Wrong.
I don't think there's much I can say about that on the internet without ending up in court so moving right along. Ended up basically beaten up and homeless. THIS girl. The class valedictorian who went to college on a journalism scholarship, who was brilliant, fun, happy, and raised by good parents - THIS girl got beat up by a dude. Sigh. I was smart enough to leave and never go back, except to collect a couple of boxes of stuff when he wasn't there. I lived on a friend's futon for a couple of months while I started a job at a really fancy salon and tried to reassemble my life at the ripe age of 24.
About a year later, I sat in my new office at the Colusa Sun-Herald. It was my new office because I had been promoted to Editor after less than a year as a reporter. Editor, at the age of 25. I cried the first night in that office because I thought 'this is it man. This is what happens when the world poops on you and you say you know what world? I don't really mind being pooped on anyway. Watch me make lemonade out of it.' Or something like that. That sounded better in my mind.
So, age 25. First female editor ever hired to the position and youngest one of any gender to ever hold the position. And this was an 145-year-old newspaper! Cool stuff. Really, really long hours. Really, really difficult legal and life choices on a daily basis. I then hire the most brilliant writer to ever waste his talent on a small town newspaper (his name is Robert Parsons and he is doing big things now as a cop reporter in Yuba City, Ca. Check him out. I like to pretend I invented him, but the truth is, Monkey has more talent in his left pinky than I have in my entire brain. And he's right handed).
This is too long for a blog post. Dang you nagging mother!
Time to put it on dub speed. So I met a lot of super cool people at this newspaper. Despite the bleeding stomach ulcer and stress that made my hair fall out in clumps, I learned how to be a grown up, how to live alone in my own apartment (no roommates!), established fantastic credit and met some of the most important people in the county and state (insert shameless name drop "Arnold Schwarzenegger" here). Most importantly, due to the massive amount of times I had to write Arnold Schwarzenegger's name in my articles, I will never, ever have to look up how to spell Schwarzenegger. Take that! Also, it's not a tuma.
Fast forward (in dub speed) to a year or so later. Our corporation sells us to a bigger corporation. This results in our major competitor OWNING us. For those not in the newspaper industry, this is the equivalent of Lex Luther obtaining the publishing rights to the Daily Planet. And if you don't understand that reference, please stop reading now; we can never be friends. I lost control of the majority of what went in to the newspaper, began a losing battle against the illegalities and corruption of the journalism world, and decided to leave while my stomach lining was partially intact. And by "decided" I mean that my doctor ordered me to.
Commence the most insane thing I've ever attempted in my life: So I lived in a very small town with 17 beauty salons and although half of them weren't even busy enough to survive, I decided to go ahead and open my own and make it 18. Did I mention I didn't have any business experience or money to start? That's okay because I had something more important than business knowledge, working capital, or a clientele - I had pure, unadulterated, stupid blind FAITH. I read this funny little book called The Secret and believed in what it taught with every bone in my body. I bought the audio book version and listened to it all day, every day to let the ideas soak into the very cells of my body. (I even aptly named my salon Secrets of Attraction). If you can believe it you can achieve it. Man becomes what he thinks about. Build it and they will come. Oh, wait that last one was Field of Dreams. Same idea though and good flick.
It truly was the best ride of my life. I rented the cheapest (read: most trashed) building in town, which would later result in a 4-month cough and bleeding ear drum due to the mold in the walls, but that is a whole other story. I spent 7 weeks fixing it up. I painted, chipped tile, swept, stained, moved, hung, hammered, and sweated. I learned that you can buy a lot of help from great friends with donuts and beer (forever in your debt Robby. I also probably still owe you lots of donuts and beer). I learned that my brother is a problem solver, will show up at the most unexpected times with things you didn't even know you needed, that owning a beauty salon makes you a deity forever in your 4 and 6-year-old nieces eyes, and that true friends are the ones that stop by with their four kids and 7-month pregnant belly to help paint when you are tired and sweating and need to get it done. (Thank you Shandi!) And, I learned that my mother knows an awful lot about business.
Fast forward two years. It has been so hard. I have worked all hours of the night, seven days a week, have had a full clientele from DAY ONE and have the most amazing thing going. My apartment is a block away from my salon. I pay for all of it BY MYSELF. It is hard. Some months the numbers don't add up but it works anyway. I am at the top of my world. I LOVE MY JOB. I own something really, really successful. My life has changed forever for the better. Then, begins the stalking.
Won't get into the details of that either. You can find the results on the Glenn County Court Website but looooong story short I ended up with a restraining order against a stalker and that didn't really work anyway so I left. I had a blog that I used to keep about that but his family and friends harassed me until the fear in me was so bad that it wasn't worth keeping up.
So I ran away. I moved my salon to another town, expanded it by a LOT and stayed with my mom while I tried to sort things out. My salon got BIG. It got BEAUTIFUL. It was a full service day spa with massage therapists, an esthetician, three hairdressers, two nail techs and a tanning bed. Oh and spray tanning! We had it going on and we were seriously slammed. I love the people of Colusa, California. Then, a few things happened all at once. I lost the ability to do nails. They don't tell you in beauty school that even if you're really, really, good at doing nails you shouldn't do it for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week or you're going to blow your arm out. I blew my arm out. I also met this incredible man. I didn't believe in incredible men anymore but THIS incredible man seemed worth the risk. We met and fell in love within about four and a half minutes and were talking marriage after about five. We moved in together and two days after the closing of our home, he proposed. At this time I was commuting two hours each way to work and realized this wasn't going to work in the long term. I sold my salon. It broke my heart but that's the idea of an investment right? Build it, work your tail off, sell for profit?
So here I am! And I am soul searching. Where do I go now? What on earth do I do? I am SO FORTUNATE. I have the most supportive husband on earth. If I decided this week that my true calling was to don a giant tri-colored hat and ride the lemonade bicycle at the Hot Dog on a Stick in the mall, he would proudly brag about me on Facebook for it. He really wouldn't care WHAT I did as long as I was happy and occasionally fed him dinner. He encourages me to write, for whatever reason he thinks this is what I'm best at. He supports me while I struggle daily to find meaning and what I'm "supposed" to be doing. Some days it all seems clear and other days I feel like I will never find a new purpose. It's really hard to top accomplishments like class valedictorian, college scholarships, being a newspaper editor by the age of 25, owning a thriving successful business in CALIFORNIA in THIS economy by age 27, snagging Prince Charming by age 30 and being married by a Congressman! But because it is in my nature, topping all of that is just what I intend to do.
If you have read this far and all of this rambling, and you have not beat your head against a wall, you deserve a prize!
Thank you for coming along for this ride, I cannot wait to see where it takes me next.