On New Year’s Day, my husband posed a challenged to everyone he knew. “This year,” he wrote, “have the courage to do something that scares you. Something you have always wanted to do and see where that takes you.”
I’ve always been a person who makes safe decisions. I never take risks. I never rock the boat. I follow the plan. So after high school, I did what I thought I should do – I went to college. After 4 years, I still had no idea what I wanted out of my life. I didn’t want to work in an office. I didn’t want to teach. With an English major, those were really my only options, so I went to work at a retail store. It was fast-paced, and I excelled quickly. I enjoyed helping people find themselves through clothes. They could feel better about themselves, because when you look good, you feel good.
I followed the plan. I was in retail for 8 years. I worked my way up from a full-time sales person to an assistant manager in my first store. Every day I looked forward to helping another person feel better about who they were, but management wasn’t where I wanted to be. When we moved to North Carolina I thought I might have a chance to find what I truly loved doing, but instead I played it safe. I stayed with the company and transferred to a bigger store with more opportunities for growth.
“Don’t rock the boat, Cassie. Stay the course, Cassie. This is what you’re good at…”
Six years, and no growth. More responsibility, yes, but no growth. Was this really the right thing for me? I started thinking back on my life and the things that made me the happiest. Were there things that I could do that would fulfill me creatively and keep me satisfied? And then it hit me …
“Cassie, will you do my hair?”
I could stand behind a chair all day. Curl, tease, braid. I’m a whiz with a bobby pin and some hairspray. Throughout high school and college, I was the go-to-girl for all of my friends. And I loved it. It didn’t matter that I was the last one to get ready with the least amount of time to make it happen. Everyone else looked beautiful.
I had the privilege of doing a dear friend’s hair for her wedding day. I was behind a chair for hours and was in heaven. Not only did I style her hair, but all of her bridesmaids then wanted their hair done as well. I was overwhelmed with happiness. That’s when I knew.
I’m following a dream. I’m rocking the boat. I’m taking a risk. I’m making anew plan for myself. For the first time, I have the courage to do something that excites and scares me. This contest is a huge test. I only know what I’ve taught myself. If anything, I’ll be proud of myself for having the courage to try. Once I have the amazing education that I know I’ll be receiving from the Aveda Institute Chapel Hill, I’ll be able to help people feel beautiful again, and this scholarship could go a long way towards making my dream a reality. A hairstyle you can see every day – an outfit, you eventually have to change out of.
- Cassie Belcher, 2013 Aveda Institute Chapel Hill – Art of Beauty Scholarship Winner