Politics are politics. It’s formal, it’s informal. Negotiation, governing, foreign affairs, power, money, rank, conspiracy, espionage, equality, freedom, lies. Those are just a few of the words that can be equated to politics.
What I am about to share isn’t about politics, if you don’t want it to be. It is, however, about the fact that PEOPLE, not just one ignorant individual that happens to be running for the highest ranking position in our country, are basically saying that sexual assault is ok. I’ve got news, it 110% is NOT ok. Sexual assault isn’t something you joke about, or brag about, or carry out. It is wrong on every level to any person of both genders.
When I was 6 years old I was molested by my mother’s roommates boyfriend. His name was Ron. This went on for over a year. I won’t go into the details of what happened…you can read that in my book…but let me tell you that I am now 41 and to this day I remember it as if it were yesterday. Sometimes I wonder if it was a bad dream, or if it was something that I made up because I honestly can’t believe that my little body and mind endured what it did. It was the first of many times that I, myself, have been sexually assaulted. I never told anyone until 3 years later, after it happened a second time. I was 9 years old and it happened while I was in Nevada visiting my dad. My dad and his girlfriend left my brother and I with her dad so that they could go do whatever it was that they had to do. I don’t remember his name but I recall his hair color and the way his feet looked because that was what I was staring at as he had me bent over his knees with my pants down. I could vomit typing this…but, the reality is…this IS my reality! As it is thousands and thousands of other people.
I eventually told my mother when we got back to Ohio and that is when I told her about Ron. She screamed and cried and asked me why I never told her. I was afraid. I was afraid of what would happen to me. I was afraid no one would believe me. I was afraid of being afraid. Fortunately, for me, my mother did believe me and at the time, that was all that I needed.
I felt a sense of relief after confiding in my mother. However, I was still afraid. I was afraid that it would happen again, and it did. I used to sleep in bed with my mother when I was 9 because I was desperate to be close to her. That, unfortunately, didn’t stop her from allowing her boyfriends to sleep in her bed when I was in there also. I remember waking up to my leg being moved around. When I finally awoke completely I realized her boyfriend had my leg bent and was rubbing and pushing my foot into his crotch. It was hard. I felt it on my foot. I quickly got up and went down into the kitchen to get some water. He followed me downstairs and as I was about to walk back into my room, he stopped me and asked me if I was ok. Are you f*ucking kidding me? I nodded my head and walked into my room and slept in my own bed. I wasn’t afraid to tell my mother this time. She was furious and disgusted. She confronted him and guess what? He denied it and called me a liar.
There have been so many times since then that I have been touched without giving my consent. Whether it be at a concert and having my ass grabbed a million times, or having two male classmates chasing me down so that one of them could hold my arms behind my back as he told the other one to shove his d*ick in my p*ussy. I’m beyond disgusted as I’m writing this and the reason why I am sharing is because this type of shit happens all of the time!!!!
For the people out there making jokes, bragging, laughing or shrugging off the “locker room” talk of sexual assault and trivializing the seriousness of this I feel sorry for you. I hope that it never happens to you so that you don’t know how me and thousands others feel.
Watching my mother smoke, snort, swallow, and drink every drug that was available to her was my reality as a child. In turn, this reality led, drove, and resigned me to spend most of my childhood knowing that I never wanted to be like her and planning ways not to be. “Ah, the best laid plans”, I thought, as I lay slumped over the edge of my couch viciously dry-heaving into the steel pot lying on the floor beneath me. Worst-case scenario? I had become the very woman I resented. Wiping my mouth, trying to remove the evidence of last night’s binge, I realized I had become my mother.
“Dear God, please let me die.”; The Lord’s Prayer uttered by most, if not all alcoholics. Followed by the pledge: “If you decide to keep my pathetic shell of a body on this planet, I vow to never drink this poison again.” These prayers and pledges were often drowned out by the demons screeching in my head. The voices that reminded me how I was not smart enough, not skinny enough, not pretty enough. So many ways I will never be enough.
Irony. The very voices that tore at my esteem were the same voices that would only be quieted and satiated with alcohol. I used alcohol to quiet the demons and the demons demanded the alcohol.
Last night. Well, last night had been just like every other time, day or night, I had decided to drink myself into a blackout. Shot after shot after shot, I got drunk. Blasted. Wasted. Blind. That’s what I did. It was July 19, 2006 and my husband was traveling out of town on business. His departure signaled the party was about to begin. Alcoholics love to drink when they think no one is watching. Alcoholics always believe they are smarter than their sober counterparts. We are emboldened by our lies. He was nervous to leave me because I had promised a thousand times before that I wouldn’t drink and a thousand times I had. Promises are made to be broken and mine were. The vows spoken from sober lips would soon be slurred into lies by my drinking.
My memory of that night is spotty at best. I remember stumbling into a few local bars, slurring and fawning over anyone that would talk to me. I heard later that some people that knew my friend,Shannon, had seen me and called her to inform her of my reckless behavior. Shannon quickly called my husband and told him that I had been driving drunk all over town and was a complete disaster, a tornado; the very hurricane of destruction my mother was. My husband rushed home and they both confronted me in the living room. My head was pounding, my stomach was turning, and the room never stopped spinning as they both sat in front me and pleaded with me to stop drinking. Tears fell from Shannon’s eyes and rested on her cheeks as she mustered the words, “You are going to kill yourself.” Unfortunatley, at that moment, I honestly didn’t care. I mean I wanted to die. Yeah, Shannon, tell me something I don’t know. I was sick and tired of feeling worthless. I was also worthless at feeling sick and tired.
My husband, on the other hand, didn’t show the emotion that Shannon did. He was just flat out exhausted. He had been living an alcoholic induced nightmare for the past two years. Our relationship had seen him through a 30 -day stint in rehab, one overdose that resulted in a two-day hospitalization, a three-month break-up, one DUI, and countless days and nights of worry. He was done. If I thought I was sick and tired, well, he was terminal.
Sitting before me was a broken, tired, man. His words cut me to the bone. Thankfully, I will never forget what he said. Now mind you, my husband is one of the most selfless, genuine and kind- hearted people that I have ever met but he was maxed out.Everyone has his or her limits.
He looked at me and said, “You don’t know what you do when you’re out drinking because you are in a blackout. I feel like I should have myself tested for diseases because you could be sleeping with people and not even remember.”
My heart was shattered and I felt suddenly dirty, disheveled and disgusting. My whole world felt like it was being ripped apart. For whatever reason, those words triggered something inside of me. He had tried to be understanding in the past. He had tried tough love. He had tried to be encouraging. He had tried it all. Now he wasn’t trying; he was giving up. I had never truly heard what he was saying because I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to get rid of my best friend. Alcohol had always made situations, people, places and things and even myself more tolerable. He didn’t deserve this kind of life. The difference was that now I knew and believed that I didn’t either.
For the past ten years alcohol had consumed my thoughts and ravaged my mind. I convinced myself that I needed alcohol to survive. Happy, sad, hungry, confused, my past, my future, it didn’t matter. I could always create a reason that my feelings needed to be buried. Alcohol seemed to hold the shovel. Alcohol was the dirt. Alcohol would also be my executioner and my undertaker if I let it.
It’s safe to say that I am an alcoholic. I wasn’t aware, ten years ago, that being able to say those four words, “ I am an alcoholic”, would save my life, but now I know, without a doubt, that if I would have never uttered them and actually believed them I wouldn’t be alive. I am an alcoholic. Four words can change your life.
When I look into my three year old son’s perfect blue eyes I see love, honesty, hope and unselfishness. I feel the purest form of unconditional love that I never knew existed. Knowing that he has never had to see that hideous side of me brings me joy. My husband has been a gift from above. He knows everything about me and loves me in spite of those things. He loved me as the active alcoholic person I was and the recovering alcoholic person I am trying to be.
When I think about how I made people feel when I was at my darkest with alcoholism my heart slides slowly into my gut. These memories are horrible, vile and painful yet I keep them close and remind myself of them often. I breathe in the pain because it keeps me sober. I make a conscious decision every day to stay sober.
I deserve this chance. I deserve this life. I deserve to be loved. I deserve happiness. I am real and I am true. I allow myself to experience life. The good, the bad and the ugly. I embrace it with all of its ups and downs, and twists and turns, with a newfound resilience. I can face life, feel its wrath, and weather the storm without taking one drink, because one drink is too many and a thousand is never enough.
I try my best to do the right thing and always be forthright and honest. However, we humans are a complex bunch. No matter how hard you try, sometimes you’re just an asshole. Today, I’m a sober asshole.
How did I come up with the idea to paint people’s faces onto hair? I was walking through my salon one busy Saturday and I just glanced over at a pile of magazines. That’s when I saw what would become my inspiration. It was the 2016 March edition of Conde Naste Traveler. I don’t remember ordering that for the salon but, I’m oh so glad it made its way in the doors;)
I’m not sure how to explain the feeling that I get in my gut when I get excited about a hair project, hahaha…it’s kind of like butterflies on top of a stuttering, caffeine surge. Yeah, that’s probably an accurate description;)
I immediately started doing cartwheels. Not physically, but in my head, hahaha. First thing I did when I got home was look up PoP ArT paintings. One thing led to another and I found myself searching for paintings of singers that I admire. I love music! I really think that I’m being sung to when I listen to my favorite artists. My husband told me that there is medicine for people like me;)
First things first…I can’t draw for shit. Literally still draw a flower the way I did when I was 10. How in the holy hell was I going to get the images and ideas I had in my head onto the hair? The cover above looks like a projector was used. I researched projectors and was able to buy an inexpensive one at Hobby Lobby. I didn’t really like using the projector because it was just awkward.
As I was becoming cognizant of the fact that I didn’t like this particular type of execution, I realized that I was able to place an image under a Meche Sheet and trace the basic outline using my icing bag technique. For those of you that don’t know, last year I created a “tie~dye” and “stained~glass” look on extensions using icing bags full of hair color. I then took my outline and stamped it onto a weft of hair, very gently pressing the sheet into the hair so that I didn’t spread the color too much. I then gently peeled the sheet off of the weft and let it sit to dry. After a few hours I went back in and was able to freehand some detail and color in my image. Once I was finished coloring;) I let the whole piece sit to dry. Reason I let the color sit in between is because it doesn’t bleed, or run into one another once rinsed.
David Bowie happen to be my first victim;)
After Bowie, I kept going…
I forgot to mention that after I started this project I presented it to my friend and fellow stylist, Ursula Goff. We were on the same color wave because she was working on painting renditions of famous works of art onto hair as well. She became the inspiration for my next piece…isn’t she a beauty? Check out her site http://www.UrsulaGoff.com. You’ll shit your pants;) She’s also the reason I was able to finish writing this article.
These seem to be getting a little easier as I go. I have problems with the finer details because they seem to get lost. As I said, I am not an artist…not “technically” anyway;)
I obviously had to do a Lady Gaga one. It was hard to choose an image of her because first of all, there are so many and second of all…I didn’t think I could do it…I finished this up very late one evening and asked my husband to take the photo of me wearing them. To be very honest, I thought that this was the worst one so far. I ended up posting a photo that night telling myself that it looked like shit and I’ll do another one tomorrow. Well, to my surprise this has been one of the most “liked” on my social media pages. So, needless to say, I didn’t redo it;)
Then…Prince died. I had actually printed this photo out a few days before he died and was going to start working on it. He has always been one of my favorite artists. A sadness came over me and I couldn’t really explain it. I felt stupid for mourning a person that I didn’t know personally. His music though…his words, his whole being…I was in love with.
So, that’s all I have so far…There are a few more faces floating in my head that I will try to get to soon.
Is this for everyone? No
Is it practical? No
Let me tell you why I do it. It’s fun. It’s therapeutic. It pushes me and my creative boundaries. These have been called f*ucking ugly, ridiculous, stupid, hideous, blah, blah, blah. Me and my work have literally been ripped to shreds and that isn’t always easy to read or hear…but I keep going.
I’ve also had the most amazing support and encouragement from people all over. I need to remember why I do what I do. Is it for you? Sometimes…Is it for them? Not always…
It’s for me…
I never want to hurt anyones feelings. Especially at the expense of my opinion. I try to remember one of the things that I was taught at a very early age and that is, “If you don’t have anything nice to say…don’t say anything at all.” Now, have I always been able to stick to that? No…but I’m reminded daily as I scroll through my social media feeds and see how ruthless people are. “That’s hideous”, “This is the dumbest f*cking thing I’ve ever seen”, “This is so stupid”, and so on and so on. These are just a few “opinions” I personally have been given on my hair work. I realize that I am posting my work and it will not be liked by everyone. I totally get that! I also realize that this isn’t the first, and probably won’t be the last, time that I write about this subject. Here’s the thing though…I’m not asking you if you like it. I’m not asking you what your thoughts are. I’m simply sharing because I personally like it and am proud. So unless you have some constructive criticism that will help make me a better hairstylist, makeup artist or person in general…shut the f*ck up telling me how you don’t like my stupid dumb, hideous work. That doesn’t help me. It just makes me want to throat punch you, hahaha. You taking the time out of your day to put my shit down just shows how bored you are. So get a hobby. Go to therapy and deal with whatever it is that is making you unhappy.
I’ve made the mistake of stating my “opinion” on social media when it was less than positive and it does no good. Starting arguments and causing others to be upset because of my unsolicited opinion simply isn’t worth it. So, if I have ever hurt your feelings or anything of that nature, I’m sorry.
I will try my best to be uplifting and supportive. However, when there is no way that that is going to happen I’ll keep my fat mouth shut. Or at the very least, not hide behind my computer screen and spew a bunch of negative noise your way. None of us need any bullies telling us what we do or are doing is stupid, dumb and hideous. I don’t know about you, but my own inner bully does a great job telling me that I’m not good enough. I certainly don’t need to hear that shit from anyone else. Unless I ask…
I don’t know for sure if this a quote from Buddha, Socrates or the Monks but whoever said it…I like it;)
“Is it spoken at the right time. Is it spoken in truth. Is it spoken affectionately. Is it spoken beneficially. Is it spoken with a mind of good-will.”
Be nice…and if you are unable to do that…be quiet.
When the New Year makes its debut at the stroke of 12, I think to myself, here we go! New Year, New Me. I’m motivated to eat healthy, work out, drink more water, stop drinking pop, work smarter and not harder, or work harder than hard. Probably the same things that the entire population vow to do. Then, reality sets in about 8 hours later and I crack open a cold Coca~Cola. Ahhh, the first drink is always the best. Ok, so that resolution is shot but I will tell you that each year I have and will continue, to try and be a better version of the person that I was the year before.
The beauty industry is not for the faint of heart. Dedication, passion, hustle, determination, and talent are just a few of the traits that you’ll need to make it through the work week.
This got me thinking about something that happened to me about a month ago. I received a message from a fellow hairstylist that I truly admire. Her name is Shelly Devlin. She’s been an influence in this industry for years. Her talent is mind blowing and the compassion that she has for others is even greater. Shelly writes me asking me if I could contact her about a friend of hers that wants to be a hairstylist & makeup artist. She tells me that this sweet girl, who’s name is Kayla, brought my name up to her saying, “There’s this really cool person named DJ Victory…” and she proceeds to tell Shelly that she reads my blog, knows about my tie~dye hair and follows me on Instagram. When Shelly told Kayla that she knew me, Kayla was so excited she freaked out. This is even hard for me to write because I can’t imagine, or even believe, that someone would feel that way toward me. I immediately respond to find out the rest of the story. I read her story with tears in my eyes and a pit in my stomach. Kayla has Arthrogryposis, a joint and muscle disorder. Kayla can’t bend her arms, her wrists don’t move and she has had several surgeries over the years to help her walk. She can’t ride a bike nor shower and wash her own hair. She is also unable to dress herself. Needless to say daily activities that we take for granted, Kayla either can’t do them or they pose a challenge for her. I’m crying. I’m upset, and I start to think about how I don’t have all of the feeling in my right hand or don’t have full range of motion due to an accident four years ago and the fact that I sometimes feel sorry for myself because of it. Really? Ugh, I continue reading. I start to get butterflies in my belly and heart bubbles begin to float above my head as I learn the things she CAN do. Kayla works one day a week in Shelly’s salon. Some of her responsibilities include folding towels, sweeping up hair, and answering the phone. I also find out that she is a master selfie taker and has perfected applying her own makeup! How does she do this?! Kayla can’t bend her arms!! I’m baffled, humbled and beyond inspired. Shelly tells me that Kayla is about to celebrate her 16th birthday and asks me if I could send Kayla an email wishing her Happy Birthday. Let me back up to say that I am still in disbelief that this young woman even knows who I am and likes what I do. I decided that instead of emailing Kayla that I would send her a video. I holed up in my bathroom, only place I have privacy these days, and took a video of myself wishing this little love bug a Happy Birthday. I told her how inspiring she is and how much I admire her perseverance. I also told her that I would custom tie~dye a set of extensions for her. I sent the video to Shelly and she surprised Kayla with it at her party. I received a very sweet text from Kayla the next day thanking me. We’ve been friends ever since.
Dedication, passion, hustle, determination and talent these words describe Kayla. She thinks I’m cool, but honestly she’s the cool one. Kayla made me feel special. She also made me look at myself and continue to strive for whatever it is that I want to achieve. I feel honored to have had this humbling experience.
We know resolutions don’t last, at least not for me, so that’s why I try to be the best person I can be at all times. Sometimes I fail, but at least I don’t quit.
Kayla also taught me that.
Happy New Year!
I’m not a particularly religious or political person. I have my own ideas and views but don’t feel the need to talk about it all of the time because, let’s face it, do you really care? No. I’m not going to change your mind at this point in the game and I don’t care to. I’m just really confused about people’s “need” to hate Muslims. What has happened recently, and has been happening, is incomprehensible to me, on every level. It’s devastating, sad, disheartening, disgusting, and discouraging. However, are people who think that because these terrorists are killing people in the name of religion, the Muslim religion, that f#cking stupid to think that all Muslims are evil, horrible people? I seriously don’t get it. There have been hundreds upon hundreds of massacres that have been led with different religions. Mostly the Christian religion. I’m not saying anything against Christianity, people who are practicing Christians, or anything like that but what I am saying is that Hitler had Christian views…
“My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.
-Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)
and I’m pretty sure we can all agree he was the epitome of evil if there ever was one. Then there is Christopher Columbus. He was born Roman Catholic and apparently didn’t practice religion. Wikipedia says he became more religious in his older years though , “he grew increasingly religious in his later years. Probably with the assistance of his son Diego and his friend the Carthusian monk Gaspar Gorricio, Columbus produced two books during his later years: a Book of Privileges (1502), detailing and documenting the rewards from the Spanish Crown to which he believed he and his heirs were entitled, and a Book of Prophecies (1505), in which he considered his achievements as an explorer but a fulfillment of Bible prophecy in the context of Christian eschatology.
If I have my facts straight, I’m pretty sure he slaughtered and dismembered the natives of the city he was governing and then made a spectacle of their body parts throughout the streets of that city! Yet we celebrate Christopher Columbus Day. I could go on and on and f*cking on.
There are extremist everywhere you turn. These brainwashed pieces of shit that are killing people in the name of religion are insane. Just like Hitler, just like good ol Chris Columbus, just like the Westboro Baptist Church, etc…
I have friends that are Muslim, atheist, Catholic, Christian, you name it and they’re normal people, hahaha, whatever “normal” means. I became friends with a whole family of Muslims when I started doing their hair years ago. Farah Sharbek walked into my salon and looked at me and said, “I’m obsessed with your hair…” Not, “If you don’t believe in my God I’m going to kill you…” Since then I’ve been a part of her and her sisters weddings, our children share the same birthdate, her mother travels 45min., one way, to see me about twice a year for color…because in here words, “No one does color like you DJ…” They are amazing, kind, loving, people who have family that are still in Syria living a nightmare. Farah’s father’s family had a bomb drop onto their house. Her cousin, who was a Dentist, was attempting to help sick children by having them come into his office was murdered. Driving to work one day, a sniper, who worked for the Syrian Government, put a bullet through his head leaving his own children fatherless. Farah’s family isn’t 100% positive that the sniper was Muslim but odds are…
I can’t wrap my head around this….
Everyone keeps talking about how we need to help the homeless and the Vets here in America before helping refugees but can’t we do both?
Can’t we just help people when we see them in need no matter what religion?
Our society is so good at generalizing and stereotyping. It’s what we do. We are supposed to be an intelligent species but lately, I question that….