2019 is nearing the end and what a year she’s been. It's hard to find the words to describe exactly how 2019 has been for me. I haven’t shared every single moment online, mainly because to be honest I’m quite a private person and I feel not everyone needs to know everything about my life.
I do feel however, that it’s also equally important to be honest and show you that everyone has things going on. A lot of us put up the “shit umbrella” as Regan would say so you don’t even realise half of the crap that’s been going on behind the scenes in someone’s life - thats the stuff that just falls over the sides.
Don't get me wrong, this year has been incredible for my career, both online and off. Its been super busy thats for sure, I have literally been here, there and everywhere with two overseas work trips. I have also had some insane opportunities come my way and been lucky enough to be apart of so many magical moments. My main business continues to grow rapidly every year and for that I am always so bloody proud. It’s always so humbling to look back and see how far I have come over the years, but of course I wouldn’t be here without half of you, in which I am forever so grateful of the continued support I receive.
What you don’t see is that it’s not all about just putting some makeup on peoples faces, theres a hell of a lot of admin behind the scenes and many early starts/late finishes. Don't let me forget to mention the zero days off haha, but I literally wouldn’t have my life any other way. I absolutely love what I do!
This year I will end on working on close to 1603 faces personally done by me and a further couple of hundred done by the Artists who work for me for 2019 across weddings, special occasions and commercial - thats a lot of foundations, mascaras and lipsticks and actually blows my mind if I sit here and break it all down.
A major highlight was definitely when I received the most amazing phone call I have ever had in my life, inviting me on an all expenses paid trip with Clinique New Zealand (part of ELC NZ) to New York City . This phone call was bittersweet, it came on the day of my Mum’s last treatment, so as you can imagine I was very overwhelmed with emotion.
I have to say it was just absolutely unreal to be recognised by Estee Lauder Companies as someone who deserved this, having worked with them online for over 6 years now across their brands, it truly was a feeling I cannot explain. To be chosen out of all of the hundreds of other “Influencers” they work with, was so humbling to know my work and support doesn’t go un noticed. Goes to show even when you think your just lost in the crowd people still notice you , keep chasing the dream! PS New York was friggen insane and Regan had the time of his life!!! Yes he got to come along too I KNOW AMAZING!!
So aside from the many many positive moments, incredible people I met and work opportunities that came my way, this year by far was also one of the most challenging I have faced.
In April 2019 my beautiful Mum was diagnosed unexpectedly with stage 3 cervical cancer, writing this I still cannot believe it’s even true. If you know my mum Nicky or Nicky Ban as she has been called over the years you will know she is the most selfless, beautiful human being and if you have her in your life you're so bloody lucky.
She has been our rock my entire life, she raised us solo from when I was 5years old and taught us to be the driven and hardworking women that my sister and I are today. For 6 months I didn’t know my Mum had any symptoms, she wasn’t alarmed herself that it was anything worth worrying about but went for another smear just to be safe.
Receiving the phone call the evening Mum found out was the worst night of my life, hearing her voice quiver as she said to me I’m so sorry Stace it's not good news, it's Cancer. My heart sank and as strong as I tried to be on the phone my entire world came crashing down around me.
The difference between my sister and I is that I am definitely the emotional one. I take things personally, I get attached to peoples stories and when I hurt I really hurt. So for me knowing my Mum now had Cancer and having had other family members and friends pass away from Cancer, I could only think to myself she cant die, she cannot leave this world like everyone else has. I lay awake many nights trying to process it all, knowing I had to be strong for my beautiful Mum.
From the very first meeting to the end of treatment, I tried my absolute best to be by my Mum’s side. The beauty of being self employed is that when this shit happens in life and it throws you curveballs, you just do what you have to bloody do to be there for your loved ones. It meant a lot of juggling of my workload, but luckily my clients are all absolute angels and were so happy to work in with me if I had to make changes. It was extremely hard some days to still show up and be the smiley Stacey everyone compliments me on, when some days I was literally falling apart inside and just wanted to break down.
For many weeks we went along to the treatments, Chemo, Radiation and lastly 2 weeks of the most intense of all Brachytherapy. The entire time, my legend of a Mum never complained once, even when she got really sick there was not one complaint and that made me really see how bloody amazing she is. I tell you what though during this time I assessed a lot of things in my own life…because there’s nothing like sitting in a room of people each fighting their own battle to survive everyday to wake you into the reality of what actually matters in life.
I have always been a live your best life, help strangers, be kind sort of person but this whole journey with my mum has 100% made me a lot more resilient to peoples bullshit and lack of good intention. From the diagnosis of my Mum’s Cancer I was awoken into the reality of who truly were my “real friends” and the people who actually cared for us all. I still struggle to this day to understand why some can’t send a simple message to check in, sometimes you just want someone to message are you ok, just so you can say actually no I’m so upset, my world is falling apart I really need you!
Note to self: Do not look at instagram story viewers when sharing personal things, because the amount of people that you think care or who you think are great people “online” who don’t even bother to take any time to acknowledge your hard times will literally break your heart LOL and you will be left in your mind thinking over and over again, do people really still not understand how to simply be a nice human being? The answer is sadly nope!
But then I am reminded that not all human beings are caught up in their own world, by the hundreds of strangers over this entire journey that have taken the time out of their day just to see how we are all going. Some even offering to provide transport for us to and from the hospital, some even wanting to drop around meals. It was in those moments where strangers were being kinder to me, than those I always held so highly in my life that I began to start making changes in who I myself put time and energy into.
If you haven’t been effected by Cancer in anyway, let me tell you in short it is FUCKING TOUGH GOING, even as someone who isn’t actually the patient mentally and emotionally it is so important to have people around you that genuinely care. It’s also really hard to not burn yourself out while you try and fit your normal life schedule of work around these emotions too.You will feel all kinds of anger towards the world, you will cry over the smallest things, you will scroll social media and get insanely fucked off at the materialistic bullshit people complain about LOL and wish that for one moment they could face what you are just so they understand that none of those things matter.
The things that do matter however.. are being a decent human being, if people check in on you, check in on them. Don’t be a shit friend, appreciate those who actually do nice things for you!! Smile at strangers, donate $10 bloody dollars to the Cancer society or other charities it can change lives , do things for people just because but most of all live your life!! Not one of us is getting out of here alive, as morbid as it is thats the end game! But with the time you have here, make an impact while you can!
There are literally hundreds of people all around the world that today learnt they are terminally ill, so many families currently holding the hands of their loved ones as they take their last breath. So please stop wishing your life away, wasting your time stressing that you didn’t get the perfect instagram shot, that you don’t have X amount of followers, that you dont have this or that, because all of that stuff is just stuff! The mentality of it wont happen to me in NZ is a shocker, directly or indirectly Cancer especially will at some point effect your life.
As much as I love social media for the connection I can have with my audience, it is the one thing I have hated the most in life more so than ever after this year. So many have become so consumed and entitled that they are losing sight of the people in their life who do matter. It’s become more about what they can get, rather than what they can give and that’s really sad to see.
So as I sign off for 2019 with this emotional reality of what has been parts of my life for 2019, I hope I spark something within you to take small steps in your life to become more connected again with the things that are truly important. To remind you that life will throw you curve balls but there is always someone worse off, that there will be a tonne of shit stormy nights, but the sun will shine again. You must always just keep looking for the rainbows as best you can!!
I hope for 2020 to be the year of change, the year of kicking cancers big fat ass for my legend of a Mum and a year of personal growth for me. I am determined now more than ever to make more meaningful change in lives around me, to not let any more shitty friends hurt me or use me for their own gain when I need them most and to continue building an amazing life for Regan and I as we head into soon being a married couple with so many beautiful moments and memories to look forward to. To my Mum you are an absolute trooper and I love you until the end of this earth, you’ve got this!
Wishing you all a safe and Happy Holidays, hug your loved ones tighter, thank them for being them and love and live like never before
Ps Grammar police don't come for me, I know there’s errors here but that adds to the realness of it all, so let’s just ignore that haha