I've been asked to tell the people at Matrix Spread the Love 2013 a little more about myself so here goes. I was born in Phoenix, Ariz. at the county hospital. I was my mother's third child and second son (out of four children). Growing up I always knew there was more for me and I knew I wanted to do something significant with my life.
There is so much to say, but I'll try to describe my life as Cliff's Notes. In grade school I focused mostly on academics, but my high school was a magnet school and provided so many more opportunities. I started by taking aerospace, but my sophomore year I decided to take advantage of the the performing arts magnet program. As a result of this program, I participated in our annual musicals, I performed in an amateur group called The Amigos, won a City of Phoenix Scholarship, became the school drum major, traveled to Germany and New Zealand (with the Phoenix Youth Orchestra) and won a music scholarship to Arizona State University playing bassoon.
College was even better, I was in one of the university orchestras, two wind ensembles, played the saxaphone at two bowl games (one of which was the Rose Bowl, yes, I marched in the Tournament of Roses Parade) and a period music ensemble. I also joined a fraternity and came out to my family. The latter of which became a strain on my relationship with my parents for a few years.
At this point I should mention that my mother's career choice played a big part in a my life. My mother attained her cosmetology license when I was about ten years old and from that point on, I was always fascinated by the industry. Thing was, I didn't want to do what parents did, at the time I wanted to get as far from what they did as I could. Around the time I was in high school, my mom was told she could no longer work as a cosmetologist because she developed bursitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. This did not hamper my fascination with the industry, however.
After college (which I didn't finish, yet) I worked in banking, then at brokerage house, followed by a media company, which brings me to now being in cosmetology school. Somewhere along the way I became depressed and had anxiety disorder (which sometimes rears its ugly head). I didn't want to take medication so I learned to manage it by watching what I eat and drinking chamomile tea to keep me calm and would say that I am much better at handling this challenge life has thrown at me.
Here is the deeply honest part of my blog. If you've read previous posts of mine, you'd see that I was convicted of a DUI about three years ago. This was the best thing that could have happened to me. Although that sounds like a horrible thing to say, I did come to have compassion for homeless people, specifically youth, as a result of my 15 days in tent city at the county jail. I decided I was going to turn bad into good. I reconnected with my faith and found a church that accepts me the way I am and began taking seminary courses. Although I finished the coursework for a degree, I didn't really pursue my diploma until a few months after one of the deans of the school passed away. I now have the piece of paper that means so much to employers and have already taken classes that count towards my masters degree. I also joined an organization called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to help me raise money for homeless youth-related causes, but the organization was very hierarchal and about a year and a half later I found it wasn't the best fit for me.
I managed to do all of this without having a car for a year and being on house arrest (I was able to leave home for work and volunteer-related work). I also re-connected with my musical roots and joined the the choir at my parents' church. When I found the choir leader didn't exactly have a soft spot for gays, I found the church I mentioned earlier where I began taking seminary courses and joined their Praise & Worship Team (which is their version of the music for Sunday services). Since joining my current church, Casa de Cristo Church and Apostolic Center, I was a project manager for our Fall Festival (our Halloween Event) and began teaching youth. I even preached the main Sunday Service, twice. This however, was put on hold when I went back to school for cosmetology.
So how did I end up at Penrose Academy? Well, I was just laid off from my job of 5-6 years at a small media company where we were doing something very different. I met the owners of that company when I played rugby on a local club in Phoenix, Ariz. As I mentioned previously, I had developed anxiety and depression and was having panic attacks and missing a lot of work. This led to me losing my job at the brokerage company where I was working. My new bosses didn't have an issue with this.
At the media company, I hung on as long as I could because I really wanted to see it through. After a couple of years, I knew I needed to move on but I really didn't know how or what I would do. Don't get me wrong, I really appreciated the opportunities I had at this job. I was able to interview celebrities for the magazine (like Andy Cohen and RuPaul), I had my own segment on their radio show and I had the opportunity to travel for marketing as a representative of the company. The job came to an end almost exactly a year ago when the company laid-off four of ten employees. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew it was an opportunity to start all over again and become the person I always knew I could be.
I looked at temp jobs until I could make some money, but that went nowhere. One day, my niece decided she wasn't going to stay at her cosmetology school any longer. The school wasn't teaching her much and she had enough. I told her I would help her find a better school.
Since my mother went to a Pivot Point school and was able to do things that others who worked with her couldn't, I thought that might be the best option for my niece. The only school that I was referred to through the Pivot Point International website was Kohler Academy (which is now Penrose Academy). I asked around and decided to look at two other schools with her, as well. She also had one in mind and I went with her to find out about that school. When the person in admissions told her that some people stay behind the chair and some go to the corporate side, a light bulb went on.
Why did I never think about that (the corporate side of the industry)? The beauty industry is wide and varied and there are so many opportunities I had never considered. I knew what I would do next. I contacted Kohler Academy and told them I was interested. I also went with my niece to look at two other schools, but in my mind I had already decided on Kohler. They didn't take everyone and anyone, they had a higher standard and higher expectations of their students and if I was going to go back to school, not only was I going to do it right, I was going to the best school I could find.
I was accepted and was told the admissions person liked that fact that I was humble and so interested in learning. I also found out a few students were Spread the Love finalists. When they told me what it was, I KNEW I would apply for 2013.
This brings me to where I am. People tell my I am a much happier person and see a complete change in me. I still get stressed out when I come to a new situation, but as Jill Kohler says, "Get comfortable being uncomfortable." She also says "Be a better version of yourself." Both of these phrases have inspired me through the last year and have encouraged me to start doing interviews in July of this year. Even though I've had anxiety through those experiences, I'm glad I've started. The more I do something, the less scary it becomes.
I really hope this has helped give you a better idea of who I am and why I be great for the 2013 Spread the Love Tour. Great things happen to people every day, I don't see a reason why I shouldn't be one of them.
Thank you for your time and consideration.