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Why would a practicing veterinarian start a DIY eyelash extension company? - LeCil

Why would a practicing veterinarian start a DIY eyelash extension company?

Not the sort of career shift you see very often right? Well, it certainly wasn’t in my 5, 10 or even lifetime plan that’s for sure! But sometimes life throws you a curveball or two and I’m no different.

I wanted to be a vet as long as I can remember, I love animals, I love science and medicine and my mind was set. Even the gruff ‘you will always be broke and the hours are shit’ from an old Dr Harry type at careers day at my high school did not dissuade me.

So, many years of hard slog and sacrifice later I graduated with honours from the University of Melbourne a proud baby veterinarian in 2008. Yep… I’m that old..

And life was great! Yeah, yeah, I mean Mr grumpy from careers day wasn’t wrong, the hours were long and the pay…. Well let’s just say I made more as a casual checkout chick at Coles when I was a student! But I loved it and it never felt like work to me. And aside from the whole… career thing.. if I’m honest with myself, being well groomed and looking good was something that I enjoyed and made me feel good too. I’m no Kardashian but I will openly admit to having some vanity

Life chugged along a fairly generic path, Id met my eventual husband while I was at Uni, we got hitched, moved interstate and both worked hard and played hard through our twenties together. It was a great time.

In a similar generic fashion we decided to start a family, and here comes that aforementioned curveball!

Pregnancy and childbirth were not easy for me, both times my useless body gave me debilitating pelvic instability and both times it tried to kill me, first child with an unexpected catastrophic haemorrhage and emergency C section. Second child with my heart slowing to near stop and a code being called. My husband still recalls standing there numbly holding his newborn while medical personnel scurried around my flaccid body, their feet leaving trails of footprints from the puddles of my blood on the floor. My only memory is waking up from blacking out to people milling around and all focus being on him and our baby. I was left on my own spreadeagled in stirrups and naked from the waste down. Completely ignored until a kind intern walked over and placed a small blue drape over my completely exposed nether-regions… Thanks mate.

Becoming a mother was not easy for me, I was(am) very type A with healthy dose of anxiety and feeling like I had no idea what I was doing with this squalling human in my arms put all of that into overdrive. Mix in huge difficulty breastfeeding, re-admission for a post c- section infection and fever of 43 degrees, a healthy dose of PTSD from the traumatic births and post-natal depression (both undiagnosed for a long time), all overlaid with a traumatic childhood of my own and I quickly fell into a very big, messy heap.

But it wasn’t a loud, teary heap… it was a quiet, inward crumbling type of heap where I kept soldiering on, and probably acted quite normally to the unknowing eye. But I was pretty much a husk of a human. When my oldest was a toddler, we discovered he had extra needs and it was decided best that I be stay at home mum to support him and my younger daughter. My whole self-worth and identity was wrapped up in being a vet so on top of everything else I slipped into that identity crisis so many mothers describe where I completely forgot (or maybe didn’t ever really know) who I was other than the proverbial ‘mum’. I was not a person, whole, with interests, likes/dislikes, things to talk about. I was just a walking, talking extension of the kids, a weird extra limb. Not an individual myself.

And if I’m just a husk why bother taking care of myself right? The seed is what has all the potential, the ability to grow and evolve, to surprise and delight. A husk is just the outer casing, useless, unchangeable, uninspiring.

In the early stages I still ‘tried’ I still recall one GP that I visited in a quiet scream for help saying to me that ‘I was still wearing makeup so I couldn’t be that depressed’. Yeah… that was helpful thanks.

But to be fair she wasn’t wrong, eventually I did completely lose the desire to ‘try’ at all.

And so… I performed the proverbial ‘letting of oneself go’. Not deliberately, but self-care in any way shape or form just felt like it required more energy than I could possibly muster. My hair was in a perpetual mummy bun (often with more dry shampoo than hair – not the greatest to think of with the recent health issues in the news), I stopped exercising and the kilos slowly piled on (and we are not talking just a cuddly few, I’m talking 30kg), no skincare, unshaved legs, unplucked eyebrows. None of my clothes fit but I refused to buy more. I lived in stretchy leggings and loose t-shirts. Showers sometimes didn’t happen. I would make excuses to not see people because I felt disgusting and embarrassed. Naturally no inner self-care was happening either. I stopped all hobbies. No time or energy, too busy and stressed to consider socialising, mediation, reading and the various other activities that I enjoy.

Now to be clear, I’m not saying external things are required to feel good or beautiful at all. People feel beautiful and confident looking exactly like I just described and 100% more power to them. However in my case it was an outward expression of my inner mental state and believe me ‘that’ was not beautiful.

I did eventually go back to working (thank-God) which helped a bit, I regained some sense of ‘self.’

But low and behold I had turned into the grumpy Dr harry from the start of this winding tail (or tale? Get it? Vet?... yeah sorry, ok).

Work was no longer fun because I had little animals of the human variety I also needed to care for, I couldn’t stay back because an animal was sick because I had to do school pickup, meals were rushed, schoolwork was accidentally forgotten, tears at drop-off, dealing with my son being bullied. Arguing with my husband about who had the most important job when someone had to stay home with a sick kid. And now I just feel like I’m failing at everything…… ALL….THE…TIME. (Far out, I’m depressing myself even as I write this…)

And that was it, I existed for years like that, just an invisible, stressed, failing, face blending into the background of life.

The tipping point, eventually, was a mixture of a health scare and lockdown. Even with the chaos of home schooling and remote working, lockdown gave us the breathing space to actually pause every once and a while. Our efforts to improve the quality of life of our kids with safe outings to local parks, playing games, shared meals, walking the pets etc had flow on effects to us. I started to remember to just-breath-once-in-a- while.

Then a (minor) health issue required a small surgery, and I was required to lose some weight for said surgery. The doctors got me on a program that actually had me shedding the pounds. And it felt great. I remembered that I liked exercise, I remembered that I liked wearing nice clothes and I enjoyed putting on makeup and blow drying my hair. And without the hustle of commuting etc I had the time and space to do it..

Huh… what do you know… maybe I’m not a husk… is that a seed I see?

Once again, I caveat this story with a reminder that this was my inner dialogue and my experience. No weight/clothes/external appearance ‘things’ make you feel beautiful. What makes someone feel beautiful is different to everyone.

And frankly, even in full glam I’m not what I would call conventionally beautiful (although my ever-suffering husband would protest). I’m talking about feeling good on the inside and whatever rituals make you feel that way and mine included some grooming. It is amazing what a little dop of confidence can do.

During this rediscovery of myself I also got to play with some beauty toys that had been unavailable to me in the past. False eyelashes, jewellery, false nails, all that stuff can’t be worn if you are performing surgery due to needing to maintain sterility. No point doing much with your hair or makeup if you must wear a surgical cap and mask.

But I had a different sort of vet job by this time, and I was working from home for the most part so suddenly I got to play with eyelash extensions and SNS nails!!! OOOOO so much fun. In my late 30s and experiencing these little indulgences for the first time in my life. I don’t care if they made me look good or not… they sure did make me feel great! I was hooked, and a had a lot of fun over those years having a ‘glow up’ to quote one of my besties.

And feeling great had amazing flow on effects to every facet and relationship in my life, better wife, better mother, better friend, better employee. I know they all say you cant give from an empty cup.. and frankly I consider myself a reasonably intelligent individual… but it sure took me a long time to learn that bloody lesson and it is 100% true.

But far out.. I was amazed by the time commitment and the cost to maintain these things!! Thank God they weren’t around in my pre-veterinary youth! I would have sent myself broke! And aside from the cost, what working mother has time to lie down or sit in a salon for 2 hours every couple of weeks? I certainly don’t. And with lash extensions, they start to fall out and look ratty in between anyway! And don’t forget the damage to your natural lashes!

Surely there had to be another way.

And there my friends is the very long story about how LeCil was born. Not to make money, not to take the world by storm. It was because I knew then what it felt like to be me again, and I didn’t want to give that up! No more husk, no more weird extra limb… Me.. Mel.. and I was hanging onto that TIGHT!

Then I started to think… what about all the other husks out there? Maybe other weird limbs would like to have an easy way to feel good too? Not just mothers of course. Everyone! Every type of husk! We all deserve self-care in whatever and whichever way that translates for us. In my case it was some easy DIY beauty. If that’s you then please come join the LeCil tribe, its fun here!

I’m not done with lashes… oh no no my friend, I have a lot of other things up my sleeve… some things already launched, some on their way, and some just impatient sparks residing in my brain waiting for the time that I can bring them to life. So, watch this space, because I want to help every single human that I can.

And actually…. Side note… every animal too for that matter! I’m still a practicing vet and I’m sure I will be till I am literally torn away from it. It will always be my passion. But…. somewhat oddly (or perhaps less oddly now you have heard my ramblings) clever, quick, and easy beauty solutions turn out to be too!

So go on babe… you deserve this…like… yesterday…

Much love

Mel

 

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4 comments

  • Maryanne paul

    Hi there Whangarei needs some quality control hard out ,girls here just want to have the best looking lashes on and stay on is one of the key factors in Whangarei ,my daughter and her friends are finactics with there lashes I could so build a a good clientele base here I reckon it would take off flying ,I would love to market Ur lashes here in the north island Whangarei New Zealand just having them on hand at customers grasps would be so ideal for these young ones here especially with the quality of Ur lashes please consider me to sell it lashes here it would be my pleasure to do so and to make people happy there’s finally a solution to there lash problem here in whangarei

  • Christine Villanueva

    WOW, I loved your story but what is more enlightening, this is a story of so many other women out there, including myself – even though I’m not a mum (not by choice, the fertility gods just decided not to align) – I am a mum of 3, 4 legged pooches which are my world…you do get consumed by all the ‘stuff’ life throws at you but we just keep going showing ‘we got this’ but in actual fact, we just want to run and hide….what an incredible woman you are Mel, wishing you every success…women supporting women..

  • Kathryn Kennedy

    Hi Mel. Thanks so.much for sharing. I’m im far north Queensland – Townsville to be exact. And I would absolutely LOVE to sell these lashes!! Im.not a beautician or even in the beauty industry..but I recognise a solution to a problem when I see one! Lash extensions suck!!! And wasted money on stupid stick on and magnetic crap. I’m going to.try your lashes..but I’m already convinced. Your research has been thorough and you know your science. The reviews speak.volumes. Women love beautiful lashes! They make us feel sultry and gorgeous. I could TOTALLY sell the shit out of these!!! Let me know if you’re interested in a chat.

  • Josie

    And now I am a blubbering mess!! Thank you for sharing your story Mel. Sooo inspiring and I’m so happy you made leCil because they help me feel freaking amazing every day! X

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