— It was July 11, 2013.
The sky was dark and the wind was heavy.
The sky was white, and the rain was pounding down.
The clouds were thick.
It was the worst of times.
I was working as a hair stylist in a salon in the city of TUPELS, in a rural area north of Mississippi.
I was wearing a T-shirt that read, “Honey Bun Cake,” and I was dressed in a pair of dark jeans and a dark gray T-Shirt.
I had my hair styled, I had a haircut, and I had makeup on.
It was a hot day.
The air felt humid.
But it was a lot better than the previous summer when I had just returned from an 11-hour flight to Europe.
It had been a busy summer for me.
I went on a three-week honeymoon to Europe and my girlfriend was pregnant.
I’d planned on staying in TUPelo for a month.
When I finally landed in Tuppernacle, Mississippi, on the morning of July 12, I was greeted by my two young sons.
They were in their diapers.
My wife and I were the only ones there.
As soon as I stepped off the plane, I saw that my little boys were sitting on my lap.
I got a glimpse of them, then they got to play with the little baby.
I hugged them tight.
They were my babies.
And I couldn’t believe what I was doing.
It felt like my life was over.
I’d been working as an assistant hair styler for a local salon for three years, but when I decided to leave, I figured I’d be able to get a new job as a barber, a few months later.
I started a new salon with the help of some friends, and within six months I had won a $1.7 million contract as a hairstylist in Tupelo.
I would do a lot of work in a day.
But I loved my job.
I loved the clients I worked with.
And in the summer months, we would go to the beach.
I used to run around the neighborhood, looking for beautiful girls.
I never got tired of my job, but I loved every minute.
I went on honeymoon with my boys the week before I got to TUPels.
We’d be at the beach, eating lunch, and then we’d go swimming and just relaxing in the water.
I wanted to be able and comfortable enough to enjoy my boys.
My husband had already bought us a boat and we were planning to sail around the Caribbean.
But the boys weren’t on board yet.
I told my husband I was going to leave the next day, and he said, “No problem.
We’re going to be at TUP and we’re going back to Mississippi.”
So I left.
The next day I was on the phone with a friend.
I’m calling the TUP salon and they told me they were closing for good.
The whole place was shut down.
They told me that I would have to start over as a new hairstylists assistant.
I thought about what I had planned for the future.
I would do my hair professionally.
I also had a new girlfriend, so I wanted her to be comfortable enough with me to be my wife.
I thought I’d try to get married soon.
I told my friends I was leaving.
I felt like I was making a mistake.
I tried to be optimistic, but it didn’t seem to help.
I started feeling guilty and scared.
I didn’t want to be the one who would have children.
I decided I needed to start taking a break.
And so, when the sun went down, I packed up my clothes and my hair products and started heading home.
I never got the chance to get back to Tuppelos.
I spent the next month in a hotel room in Tupperboro, Mississippi.
I decided to go back to the city.
I made the two-hour drive to Memphis, Tennessee, to try and find work.
It didn’t work out.
I moved back to New York City and rented a room in the Hotel Indigo.
I lived there for three months.
My boss would often come over and watch me work, but the whole time I was afraid to let him know that I was working.
It took me months to find a job.
I finally got a job at a hair salon, but there wasn’t enough money to live on.
I just couldn’t afford it.
And then I saw how the city had gone bankrupt, and how the people who were trying to help me weren’t doing anything.
The city was really in the red.
I wanted to move back to my home in New York.
I worked hard in the salon and thought I was getting ahead.
But when the recession hit