The power of a noun.

AJ Schulz // Your Stylist AJ I’ll never forget sitting in Mrs. Metzger’s 8th grade English class that day.

“What are you waiting for? I said go! My goodness this generation is slow. Get up to that board!”

Just moments before, we were asked to choose a word that described ourselves. We all popped right up after Mrs. Metger’s scolding demand, and took turns writing our word, and passing the torch.

Once settled back in our seats, the world’s longest acrylic nail tapped on the side of the world’s thickest glasses while studying our words. “Whoooo chose passionate?” she howled.

I was so proud. I knew it was a good one! I knew mine was the best! I’m a Stroud, passion is in our blood. “I did.” I admitted.

“You better keep that passion above the belt missy.” She successfully embarrassed me as the rest of the glass giggled.

I was so upset. Did she REALLY think I was getting frisky with my pre braces expander leaving a ginormous gap in my teeth, the fact that I was wearing a bra I didn’t need, let alone rocking a unibrow. C’mon. My word was perfect! I was passionate.

I don’t remember what the rest of that lesson was, but I give Mrs. Metzger an F.

This story isn’t supposed to spotlight middle school hussies or bad teachers, but that as far back as I can remember, I’ve believed in my passions, and followed them. I’ve failed. A LOT. I’ve learned so much more.

I’m tired and happy. Scared and excited. Undoubtably passionate.

I was eliminated this morning in the fourth round of the Allure Beauty Blogger Awards. I’m OK! I’m maybe even slightly relieved. I’m fine with it because it lit a fire in me just like Mrs. Metzger. It motivated me in ways I didn’t know I had! It pushed me to do things like get in front of a video camera, add even moooore to my plate, allow myself to be judged and voted for or against, and actually compete FOR my passions.

I’m not left with an award, but I’m so proud of myself. I made it to the top 10 Beauty Bloggers in the nation in the eyes of the respectable Allure Magazine! My 13 year old self would be so proud, and more importantly, my 25 year old self is pretty damn proud too.

Learn through your failures, they teach you more than your successes.

Your Stylist, AJ

Photo by Kina Wicks XO