Updated: Apr 30, 2020
My name is Jayda Martin, I am 18 years old, and I’ve found the thing that makes me happy.
I am a licensed esthetician, a certified lash artist, and I will be opening my own salon next month. Up until now, I haven’t spoken much about my journey. But I believe that every one of us has a story to tell. Our stories matter and its important for us to share some of the challenges we've faced and overcome. You never know how your story can encourage others.
From there to here...
The first panic attack I had – the one that stands out most to me – was in the third grade. I completely lost control when it came time to take my first CSAP test (Colorado Student Assessment Program). The idea of failing was very frightening to me. Leading up to that time, there were always stomach issues, countless visits to the pediatrician’s office and referrals to specialists. By fifth grade, I was officially diagnosed with anxiety.
I won’t get into the details of my experiences, but I will tell you that dealing with anxiety as a teenager, layered on top of high school aged pressures can be debilitating. I can’t tell you how many times various teachers dismissed my anxiety as misbehavior, because they didn’t recognize how anxiety looked on me. I always felt so misunderstood. I didn't know how to get them to understand that I wasn't a bad person. School made my stomach hurt. The very thought of school made me nauseous. Knowing I had to go to school made me cling to my bed on weekdays.
I thank God for my mom. She advocated for me. She wouldn't allow them to label me. She was my spokesperson. She made my voice heard, and by the end of my freshman year, I had several counselors and teachers that understood and advocated for me alongside her. There was also the presence of other beautiful women that pushed me and loved on me. I am grateful for them because their encouragement made a significant difference in my life.
I remember my mom telling me, “I don’t care if you have to crawl across the stage with a .0001 GPA to get your diploma, you need to experience completing one of the most difficult seasons of your life. If you can do that, you can do anything.” I told my mom, “I’m going to graduate, but there’s no way you’re getting me to go to college.” I graduated, I didn't crawl, I strutted across the stage, and guess what, my GPA wasn’t half bad.
“So what’s next?” my mom asked me. “If you’re not going to college, you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to support yourself as an adult.” Every summer, my mom had me doing something so I could learn about different career options, but nothing clicked until one day, she called me to see if I wanted to take a lash class. She'd heard that my cousin Chloe, an accomplished master lash technician in Los Angeles, was doing a training. I was a junior in high school at the time. I didn’t think anything about it – just went along with the flow. All of this happened around Thanksgiving break. My Grandma Rosie’s health was failing. She transitioned right before I went to L.A. with my mom. It was a tough time, but I got certified and fell in love with the first thing that ever calmed my anxiety. With all that was going on, lashing took me to a happy place.
After I was certified, my Aunt Katrina, Chloe's mom, inspired me to hit the ground running. She coached me, she coached my mom and she showed us the mother/daughter ropes to this thing. When we returned to Colorado, my mom told me "If you’re serious about lashing you’ll have to get your esthetician’s license." By my senior year, I found myself attending East High School in the morning, Emily Griffith Technology College at night and lashing everyone I could in between.
May 2019 I graduated (Go Angels), completed the esthe program in June, and in July, I passed the written and practical esthetician examinations on my first try. The whirlwind of my life had brought me to the place where all the anxiety in the world was not going to stop me from accomplishing my goals.
Upon passing my exam, the first thing I did was book a flight to Atlanta to take a mega volumes lash class. Last month, my mom and I attended the International Congress of Esthetics & Spa Conference in Long Beach, and in less than a week I'm headed to New York with my Aunt Benita to take a master lash class from one of my favorite lash educators from Canada. The point is, lashing has opened up a whole world for me and I'm enjoying every moment.
Here I am today choosing paint colors and flooring – preparing to move into my own salon with the support of the people I need most. I still deal with anxiety, but I'm finding out that I can move past it. Watch out, myEgo Salon will open soon, and I'm ready!