• Ava Hoffman

Leaping Again

So, 2022 is already chock full of me doing crazy things and making radical changes, right? Being ridiculously vulnerable in a very public forum, using graphic curse words (which I never do!), launching Taboo Talks, and about a million little things in more private recesses of my life.


I guess that isn’t enough ‘cause I’m taking another leap (eek!).


Friends, I am now the newest partner in a social marketing company, and I promise I am not crazy!

pretty much a human pom-pom.

Here's the story...


For most of my life, I had the thickest and coarsest hair. I remember my childhood hairdresser’s continual awe of it. When I was in fourth grade, we discovered just how thick and coarse it was…my hair has stayed long ever since!


Like the rest of my body, my scalp decided to do its own thing in high school. Little white pieces would float around my crown, migrating into my hair strands. We thought it was dandruff. I switched to a tea-tree shampoo and started seeing improvement. Add a fine-tooth comb, and no one was the wiser!


As my Ulcerative Colitis worsened at the end of my high school career, those white flakes returned with a vengeance. I remember being so incredibly self-conscious, friends. I was afraid someone would notice, somebody would comment, or flakes would fall. Hiding in plain sight is exhausting.


No volume. Flat as a pancake hair.

Then I started having major surgeries. Not-so-fun fact: anesthesia can cause hair loss. My hair fell out for two years. I was constantly shedding. Brushing it removed clumps. Washing it removed an ungodly amount. This thick-haired girl became a thin hair girl, and I did not adjust well.


It’s been four years since my hair stopped falling out, but the thickness has never returned. I am a thin-normal hair girl. Only in the last year have I begun playing with it – finding a cut I like, styles I enjoy. Figuring how to get it to hold a curl and which hairstyles stay the best.

Last March, just when I thought my hair and I were getting along again, the flakes returned. They declared war. My scalp accumulated plaques that would bleed when I picked them off. The flakes are more like scales. Removing them leaves bare red spots on my head. I would hop in the shower, scrub my scalp til it burned, towel off…and 15 minutes later, my scalp was covered in plaques all over again.


I remember standing at the vanity, peering into the mirror, and just giving into the heaving sobs. I wanted to scalp myself. I didn’t know how to help my head. I didn’t even know what was going on! I hated going out. I wore hats often, and used headbands to hide the state of my scalp.

A LOT of Googling and a conversation with a dermatologist later, we decided that between my autoimmune conditions, my history of pityriasis rosacea, and constant inflammatory reactions in my body, it’s a type of immune response.


Notice the poof.

I began using a medicated shampoo in an effort to calm down the reaction. I had to shower


twice a day. Now, historically, I am a night showerer only. I hate poofy hair, and my hair likes to poof up if I don’t sleep on it. I’ve never found a product that I loved to tame the volume I possess.


Until.


Y’all ready for this? Y’all ain’t ready for this.


I was the unsuspecting owner of a regifted haircare sample pack. In it was a bottle of Monat Studio One Air Dry Cream. On a whim, I tried it on my hair after a daytime shower.


GAME-CHANGER.

I showered an hour (ish) before this photo!

I shower anytime, any day, anywhere with this product in hand. No poofy hair. No volume issues. Just beautiful, natural, dry, straight hair. It. Is. Glorious. Factor in my erratic energy level, this product was incredibly freeing!


Soon after, I found an account on the ‘Gram. If you’re unfamiliar with the social media world, this may sound funny – we became friends. We’ll call her M. It started with little comments on rapidly disappearing photos and then became comments on one another’s posts and culminated in conversations and exchanged prayers in our DMs. She is a true friend and an absolute gift!


A couple months into our long-distance friendship, I discovered M worked for Monat. I asked her a couple questions. I was really curious what the inside of this company looked like, so we scheduled a Zoom call. Y’all, we were supposed to be talking about this company and what it looked like. We chatted about life, foster care, kids, dreams, our pasts, etc. I left so encouraged, and wildly, M said the same!


I’d felt I needed space at the end of 2021, and so I announced I was taking a writing break and *technically* a social media hiatus, and M messaged me. Friends, she was essentially pleading with me to join her team. “I know you’re taking a break, I saw your post,” she said. “I just don’t want you to miss out on what Q4 is promising!”


I stood firm, and she respected my decision. I told her I wanted to revisit this in the new year. We are still friends. I have prayed for her, cried with her, and bled with her in the past six months. M is a gem, and it is a privilege to know her and be in her corner!


Monat kept haunting my thoughts as I worked on other things and focused inwardly. After a particularly rough health day, I realized I wanted a better relationship with my hair and that started with the products I use. I will still need my medicated shampoo (probably), but on off days, I want to love what I put in and on my hair.

no longer avoiding close photos - check out my hair!

When I use Monat shampoo, conditioner, and their magical air dry cream, I love my hair. It smells good. TR think it smells good! My hair looks good. It feels good! For the first time in years, I see my hair first – not my plaques. Not my red spots, and not my scabs. Friends, that amazes me!


As the new year approached, joining this company continued to occupy a space in my brain. I wasn’t sure I was cut out for this! I am not a salesperson. M continued to reassure me that I don’t need to be – she certainly isn’t!


I confessed to TR that I am failure-adverse. I am nervous to make this leap. What if I don’t like it? What if I don’t succeed at it? And I realized my questions should stop at “what if.”

What if I love it? What if I get to introduce others to an amazing company, their products, and people? What if my story helps another soul love their hair again, too?


Our world talks a lot about body image. I think it encompasses more than just how we see ourselves in the mirror – I think body image includes how we treat our bodies and how we think about them, too. Hair care and skin care fall into this for me! It matters how I view my head. How I see my hair matters. Loving our bodies means embracing them head to toe.


I need to love my head, my hair!


So, I’m leaping! I promise not to hound you. I won’t harass you to buy Monat products. I’ll share as authentically as I always do. I committed to doing life with y'all in this space, and this new project/venture/business is now a wonderful part of that life.


If y’all want to talk about this company, their products, how to get your hands on them, your own hair story, whatever – you know where to find me!

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