It’s officially August 1st so this means it is the last official month of my 20s. A lot usually comes up for me right before my birthday because I physically feel a chapter writing itself to a close. I become very reflective about where my life is going as well as what I’ve learned from the previous 11 months. I can safely say that my 20s have been a decade of epic growth that I can wax poetic on it all day. Over the last week I have been incredibly fortunate that the universe has graciously presented me with multiple gifts of self care which has helped me tune into my reflective period. Honing into that voice in my head that is screaming at me to finally shed some of the barriers I’ve held up for as long as I remember. The one that screams itself the loudest is simply to be my most authentic self. So as I continue to write I want to dive a little deeper into the themes that has led me to where I am now, living an authentic life of my choosing with the world as my oyster.  

But before I dive into my lessons of authenticity it’s important to recognize that there is one thing that is the same from the Hayley I was a decade ago to the Hayley I am now turning 30. That is that I’m an esthetician. This is the first time that I am entering a decade of my life with some variable of what some may call roots. This the first time since I started my 20s that I can safely say I’m excited for my own potential. This is also the first time, possibly ever, that I am finally sure enough in myself to live truly authentically. The next couple of weeks I’m going to review what I’ve learned over the last decade and how my work has saved me in times of deep despair and hopelessness. This week I want to talk about perception.

Perception is a huge struggle of mine. Whether it’s how I am perceived or what I present out to the world. I struggle with knowing that not everyone will like me and there is not much I can do about it. My very existence would depend on if I were going to disappoint someone, whether it was my family, friends, teachers or even strangers. I worried that my actions would have such a strong effect of their lives that I committed myself fully to pleasing others while slowly shutting myself off into a deep hole of self hatred. For the last few decades of my life I would shut the voice in my head that said “do you girl!” down so much that I think there were times I wondered if it would ever come back. Now that I’m faced with my own reality it’s important for me to reflect on my lessons of perception and shed the toxic notion that I “should” be something that I’m not. I see myself in a lot of the men and women that I work on daily, feeling the pressure to please others at the expense of their own happiness and it's completely heartbreaking. My value as a therapeutic skin coach is that I can help someone rediscover their worth by choosing to see the beauty and magnificence in every individual. So why wasn't I doing that for myself? Living inauthentically is a disservice to my clients and, most importantly, to myself. Why would you take my advice and hear me when I say you're a bad ass when I didn't believe that I, myself was just as rad?

My most authentic self is a woman who loves to sing, dance, is incredibly detail oriented, secretly hilarious, skin obsessed, environmentalist, feminist who can out cuss a sailor. Those parts of me are just little facets of who I am as a whole, which also includes a very sensitive, often self conscious and worried person. I grew up feeling detached from myself a lot of the times because I would look at others and not understand why I didn’t look or feel like them. It felt like everyone had their life together but me. When I love something, I’m all in but often times I like so many things that I can’t choose what path to go down. The Hayley I wanted everyone to see was a girl who had it together but that shut me out of what I really needed a lot of the time, which was guidance. That is until I started to chime into my heart. It's that intuitive voice that would quiet the part of my mind that would second guess myself. Following that intuition would erase the fear and give a calmness to my soul where the more I felt it, the more I knew I had to listen. It's where I connect the moments of my life to recognize why each moment has led me to the next. My heart has guided me throughout the most important decisions of my life. Whether it was to allow myself to fall in love with my now husband, to move to Austin, Texas when I was 21 or to become an esthetician at 18. All of these moments in my life I was able to truly listen in without fear of consequence because I knew my heart was guiding me. I know that some of those decisions were not going to be the popular choice but they all led me to becoming the person I know I was meant to be today regardless of how difficult they were. And I regret none of them.  

Listening to my heart is the only way I can shut down what my fears are trying to avoid me from doing. Fear is actually just false evidence appearing real. I use to really believe in the fear that if I didn’t act or look a certain way that I would never be truly happy or successful. Thank goodness I didn’t grow up in the era of social media right? It took me a long time to realize that my heart is constantly guiding me because I get strong intuitive pulls that come in waves of a vision, a dream or even in the form of an idea. There were so many years in my life that I felt like there was a “right” place to be and I would know once I got there. Just recently I was driving in a neighborhood in LA that reminded me of everywhere else I’ve ever lived and it hit me - I never felt rooted anywhere because I thought I was suppose to find the “perfect” place to live. We all know there is no perfect place because out of all the areas I’ve ever been, there’s always a bad neighborhood, an upscale neighborhood, an up and coming neighborhood and all the places in between. Comparing myself to the perception that I “should” own a house by now or I “should” live in a bigger place etc. shifted my appreciation for what I have to the feeling sorry for myself. I’m a young woman from an incredibly small town in New Brunswick, Canada who’s been able to live successfully in one of America’s most expensive cities, but I still felt like I needed more. Once I let go of the perception that I was suppose to be somewhere I wasn’t I tuned back into my heart to finally hear the good news. Without the decisions I have made to live where I live I would never have been pulled to create my own business. If I let the negative perception of an at home spa stop me, I literally wouldn’t be able to pay my bills or have gotten the opportunity to meet all of you. So instead I proudly accept my life as it is knowing that there is always going to be something I could pick apart.

I am growing to love the life I created because I’m lucky enough to have it.

So when it comes to your own perception of yourself, it’s important to realize that you hold all of the answers in your heart. Whether you are struggling with how your skin or body looks, or you are feeling like you are not where you want to be in comparison to others - it’s not about any of that. Your life is yours to live only so don’t waste another minute feeling like you have to follow someone else’s standards. You are allowed to feel messy during the process because that’s where the true inspiration comes. It’s exhausting to feel like you have to live an instagram worthy life so don’t! No one has flawless skin, flawless bodies or a flawless life. Trust me, I’ve worked on thousands of people and everyone has their thing. When I was growing up I honestly thought I would be 5’9” with a completely different figure. When I developed hips and kept a B cup from high school I always thought that something was wrong with me. That’s until I had actual models tell me that they wish they had my body. WHAT?! People who don’t have a butt want a butt, people who don’t have straight hair want straight hair. When you want something that you don't have you are sending signals to your mind that you are not good enough. Your brain will recognize those signals as true and the physical effects of that become damaging on your entire body. You may not be able to heal from your breakouts or lose the weight you want because you don't feel you deserve it. If you quiet down the physical wants you might be able to hear your heart tell you how incredible you are as is. There’s no need to change, there’s only a need for acceptance and gratitude for who you are. So fuck the perceptions. I’m going into my 30s knowing that I’m exactly where I need to be with my life in front of me as a blank canvas to accept and love myself. If I get a little lost, which I inevitably will, all I need to do is tune back into my heart to know where to go.

Thanks again for reading and until next week, take care. xo - Hayley

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