Hope & Olive’s Roots — My Path to Permanent Makeup
It’s been one month since I launched Hope & Olive, Inc., a nonprofit based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. We provide restorative permanent makeup services at no cost to people in surrounding communities who have experienced life-altering circumstances and who would benefit from restoration. But the seeds for Hope & Olive and my mission to restore confidence were planted nearly 30 years ago.
I was 11 when the picking started. One day my hand wandered up to my brow. I pinched a clump of my eyebrow hairs between my thumb and index finger and pulled. One of the hairs gave way. I rolled it between my fingers. I wasn’t really aware of what I was doing. It was happening in the background. But it felt satisfying. I reached up again, gave my eyebrow another tug, and the result was the same. I knew it wasn’t normal. But once I started, I couldn’t stop. At various times throughout each day, my hand would wander toward my face, grasping for the nearest eyebrow or eyelash. It didn’t take long before the pulling got out of hand and my habit became visible in the form of patches of missing brows and lashes.
Pulling out your own eyebrows and eyelashes may seem like no big deal, but as an adolescent child, it most definitely is. As a kid, you are simply trying to fit into the world—SOMEWHERE. For 10 years I sat in isolation, hiding my truth, completely unaware that there were other people in the world who did what I did. When you are used to keeping your disorder a secret, you keep it a secret. And when you feel guilt and shame from your mental health disorder, you continue to feel guilt and shame whenever you pull.
It wasn’t until I was 21 that I found out I had an actual disorder and wasn’t simply “weird.” Even then, I kept it hidden within me for fear of judgment. I finally decided to open up about who I really was when I was 35 years old. The weight of it just got HEAVY. I don’t know how else to say it or define the feeling, but I know many of you reading this can understand that heavy feeling; therefore, you know exactly what I’m referring to.
My story is simple. I have Trichotillomania—a Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior—and today I can say that I’m perfectly fine with it. My Trich is one of the many things that define who I am. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am also the president of Hope & Olive, the owner of 3D Brows and Wellness, a lover of stories, and a writer. I’m many other things too, but what I like best about who I am today is that I am confident in who I am. It took me a long time to get there.
I always knew I was compassionate and loved helping other people feel better—but I never in a million years thought it would lead me here—to offering services to help people feel better and live better lives. But I have finally found my calling and my happy place.
Giving people the gift of eyebrows, helping them with scars or challenging skin conditions, and working with women in need of areola restoration stays true to my roots of who I am. For the past three-and-a-half years, I have had the pleasure of witnessing hundreds of client transformations at my Green Bay studio, 3D Brows and Wellness. And now, I am extending an olive branch to the clients most in need of restoration and offering services at no cost through Hope & Olive.
I was created to have Trichotillomania, and what I once thought was a curse is now a blessing. It’s all part of my story—my purpose.
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