1. How did you first discover your love for henna?
About three years ago, I got henna for the first time at an eyebrow threading place. I think it was in my foot, but as soon as I saw it, and smelled it, I was addicted. It was so minty, the beautiful intricate design, it was almost as if my body was releasing the toxic energy, and bad feelings through this beautiful swirl pattern on my foot. I don't really know what it was that hooked me, but after that first design, I was on a mission to figure out how to do it.
2. Take us through the process of what a henna design feels like to you.
Henna is actually a very tricky thing to get good at. When I first started, I had a problem respecting the negative space of the design. I kept thinking the more henna is on you, the more intricate it looks. I found out along the way, henna is delicate, you don't have to fill in every inch of skin to make it look good. One of my first henna events was at a concert in Safety Harbor, Rising Appalachia. If you haven't gone and seen them in person, you are missing out on life. I initially went there with my salon owner telling me to charge 30 dollars a piece. I often hate having to price henna, I feel it is an organic experience that should be enjoyed, having to budget for it takes away from that. After a couple of hours not getting any clients, I decided to give the henna away for free and use it as a practice event, and everyone who got something was just so freeing. They kept saying, "just do whatever your heart tells you too", and the lack of direction, the musical atmosphere, has to this day, shaped my mentality for henna. It has become a freeing, bohemian art that I love.
3. If you had to suddenly stop this activity, how would it shape your life, what would change?
Henna, to me, IS life. It is the same as when I paint, I wake up trying to find ways to do it. I sleep thinking of designs I want to practice, different places of the body I would like to place it. I feel that when you are passionate about something, everyone around you will get sick of hearing about it lol. If I didn't have henna in my life, I don't know where my inspiration would come from. I see beauty in henna. I see the faces of the people who get it, I see jubilation, I see healing. When I do henna, I connect with people. I physically come into contact with someone the entire time it takes me to draw the design, they vent to me, they tell me why they chose henna, it is just a really nice smelling therapy sesh, and I would not know what to do with myself without it.
4. Why do you think it's hard for so many of us to surrender and get lost in something that brings us joy?
I think that things that make you truly happy, not superficially or fleeting happy, but genuine happiness, draws the absolute best out of you. When I paint or I do henna, I never do it halfway. The design I create or the picture I paint is my very best effort. That moment when I henna someone and am waiting to see if they like it, is the most nerve wracking moment in life lol. I bare my soul, and the thought of someone hating or rejecting what I've put on them is TERRIFYING. I remember the first two people I did, it was a moon and a turtle. My hand was shaking the entire time, I was so scared. Even after I was done, I wasn't happy with the end result, but the clients were elated. I've never had a disgruntled client as far as henna goes, but even if I did have one, it wouldn't bother me as much. I have found my joy in the act of doing henna, not in the feedback people give me. I think when you let go of what other people will rate your passion , and find the joy in just being able to do it, you can let go and embrace it fully.