It can be incredibly hard to find passion and purpose after suffering enormous tragedy.
Steph Aiello is only 26, but she has been through so much. The past six years have been a roller coaster, starting with a tragic car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down with limited hand mobility. She was lucky, though — one of the two other people in the car died. The crash happened one day before Aiello planned to start beauty school, so her life felt completely derailed.
Misfortune struck again when, on a Christmas visit away from the hospital, Aiello and her family were in a car wreck caused by a drunk driver. Her parents suffered injuries, and Aiello was in disbelief.
“I remember sitting there thinking, ‘This just can’t be real,'” she said. “Like, ‘Why am I here?’ Sitting there in the car and your dad’s not speaking to you because he’s been knocked out and your mom’s not breathing in the back seat – you’re just thinking, ‘Why? Why does this have to happen?’ You sit there and think you’ve been through enough.”
Aiello recently shared a before-and-after picture from shortly after the accidents and now. She was lost back then, but something changed. She remembered her love for makeup.
Even though she couldn’t fully control her wrists or fingers, she worked with an occupational therapist to figure out how she could operate brushes and products.
She said, “I feel like emotionally, it made me revisit the person I was before my accident, with a passion of trying to beautify things… I think it also mentally helped me because it was a challenge for me and I became stronger from it. I became who I was again.”
Now a licensed makeup artist, Aiello posts makeup tutorials and vlogs about living as a quadriplegic to her YouTube channel. She frequently showcases looks that would be difficult for even an able-bodied makeup artist to pull off. Her videos are quite popular due to her great skill and inspirational story.
She also shares snapshots of her life on Instagram, and she feels more confident than ever.
“I have learned that you have to fake it to make it, that it’s so important to fake your confidence until you feel comfortable enough to say, ‘I do love who I am,'” she said. “That was my biggest struggle – I didn’t have any confidence. But when I got confidence I thought, ‘OK, I can do this.’ Just because you see yourself one way in the mirror doesn’t mean others see you the same way.”
(via Daily Mail)