My name is Aimee, I am 24 years old and I am a hairdresser from Melbourne! Only kidding but all my life I have been mistaken for a hairdresser. I suppose the long blonde hair, makeup & the way I dress people instantly look at me and think ‘dumb blonde’…. but then they start to talk to me and they discreetly realise to never judge a book by its cover. I’m here because I want to share my story, my story about a troubled young girl who has gone on to achieve more then she could ever imagine.
Alright so I suppose I better start with the troubled young girl bit? I was a brat of a child, always in trouble, always grounded and always messing up at school. I went to a private school and back then I didn’t care for anything or anyone.
All I wanted to do was drink goon on the weekend with my best mates and hang out with absolute drop kicks of guys (sorry guys if you are reading this. HA!). I didn’t have a dream, aspiration or a point in life, so I thought.
I was in and out of depression & was seriously lost.
As the years went on I started to get more and more caught up in the bull crap of being a teenager, just trying to impress everyone.
Me - Picture by Mark Stewart
For example one day at school in science class my friends dared me to put my bare arse up against the window looking down on 100’s of parents and their children, who were on a school tour. I wasn’t going to do it but then someone pulled out ‘the old Aimee would do it!’ ‘Dang it!’ I thought. ‘Now I have to do it’. I did it…. Then it ended up scoring me with a ridiculous amount of after school detentions & I even had to have weekly meetings with my teacher, about how to not give into peer pressure. And no I don’t think any of the parents from that day enrolled their children in the school.
Not long after this I was at school one day and my year 10 Maths teacher told me I am never going to be anything in life. I am going to wind up on the streets as a prostitute and a stripper. You know what my response was? ‘A prostitute AND stripper? Geez you have high hopes.’
A few months went on and finally the day had come that the teachers had had enough. I was expelled!
Expelled from a private school that mum and dad were spending thousands of dollars for me to go there. ‘Great wait until they hear about this’ I thought. Yeah, it didn’t go down too well that night in the Stanton residence. And why did I get expelled you ask? Well we will save that for another day. The day I got expelled I had my first shift at a new job… a chemist to be precise. Look it wasn’t a good start to the day getting expelled but then going to my first day of work and them telling me ‘my hair was too spiky and I don’t smile enough. WTF? I know you are picturing a kid named Sharon with spiky hair and a patch of purple hair dye, chewing gum and getting into trouble from the manager. No that is not what I looked like. This is what I looked like.
And the not smiling thing well I felt like going ‘LADY!!!! I JUST BLOODY GOT EXPELLED FROM SCHOOL TODAY, WOULD YOU BE SMILING YA OLD GOOSE?’ But I held myself together and 2 weeks later, just told them to shove it & left.
A couple of months went on, I got enrolled in a new school and they asked what I wanted to study there. It was Box Hill Senior SC (so a more relaxed school where their primary focus is your future career and exactly what you want to do, plus programs for football, tennis, music, hairdressing, building etc.)
I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I remember when I was younger I aspired to be the red wiggle from the show “The Wiggles” but apart from that I had not really thought much about it. A few of my mates said they were going to do beauty therapy, so I shrugged and said alright I’ll just do that too.
Every Friday for the next 2 years I would commute into the city to head to beauty school. Something I hated, something which I had no interest in, most days were spent planning what club I would go to on the weekend, if it would be Dakota, Whip, Zu Bar or Dorset, sometimes all 4. (My fellow Ringwood friends would understand this one). School was going well though, I was aceing my subjects & even became a school leader (So random, I know right?). But then all good things must come to an end I guess? I figured out as much as I used to hate school, I now had grown a connection to it. I was so scared about finishing school because that meant I had to be an adult. Do adult stuff, like get a job! Do my taxes! Move out of home! Iron my clothes! (I still struggle today with the whole ironing concept). School holidays after year 12 were bland….still confused, still depressed & still lost….Until that day I needed some extra coin so I could afford to get drunk at the local watering hole that weekend. I started doing some labouring for my dad – He is a builder. I have always been a hands on girl but I didn’t know this would be my calling!! BAM HOT DIGGITY! I FOUND IT!!! This is what I want to do! I want to be a tradie! My parents thought I was crazy, but little did they know that moment, was going to change my life!
So off I trot to my first day of TAFE for my Pre-Apprenticeship in Plumbing! ‘WOOHOO! Come at me, pipes & gas & heaters & poo!’ The amount of looks I got that day was ridiculous, one of the teachers even asked me if I could wear a looser top? It wasn’t even that tight.
I felt isolated, stupid & knew these people thought I was taking the piss. After finishing my pre-apprenticeship 6 months later, I did some roof plumbing for a small domestic company for 1 year. In the period of the first month I had:
Got my head stuck in a scaffold
Fallen through a roof and landed arse up on an old bloke eating a sandwich
Got a piece of metal stuck in one of my bum cheeks because I accidentally sat on it
& crashed through the front of the job site fence because I accidentally put my foot on the accelerator instead of the brake. (Classic stitch up.)
I know what you are thinking, back to the dumb blonde thing yeah?
Anyway after mentioning all these things that happened to me, do you think I once gave up? No. (I’m sure some first year apprentices have some way worse stories. I mean who has fallen for the old left handed screwdriver & your boss telling you to go to Bunnings and ask for a ‘longwait’.) Luckily I am not one of them, but my point is: Doing something out of your comfort zone, something no one thinks you can achieve, getting laughed at & never taken seriously, it gives you the determination to prove them wrong, work your bloody butt off & earn the respect of everyone who said you can’t. Coming into the trade I swore to myself I
don’t want to be treated differently because I was a girl, I wanted to do everything & anything, which I did. You would never once see me not giving something a red hot crack, like I’ve even worked with guys before, that I would be the one telling them to harden up!
This one time I was walking through a job site and there were two plasterers talking to each other swearing & making a scene. I walked past them and instantly they stopped talking & stared. I was thinking ‘Crap, have I got food on my face or something?’ Then old mate plasterer says ‘Oh I am so sorry MADAM, please forgive us for swearing!’ He called me MADAM like 5 times. What the hell? I’m not the bloody queen. Anyway, I reply promptly ‘I don’t give a f***k mate, treat me like your own.’ The look on their faces was priceless!
After one year of slapping tin I decided I wanted to get more into Mechanical Plumbing. I emailed my resume to, no joke 140 different plumbing companies.
I got an email back from 1.
1 out of 140…
1 for CHRIST SAKE?!
Maybe if I changed my name to Angus Stanton instead of Aimee Stanton I might have heard back from more! Luckily this one was the one I wanted to work for. The best in the business. I got the job! I was stoked. I loved my workplace, I got along with every single person. Knowing you have something to prove and you have to be your best self to get appreciated in a male-dominant career, just pushes you to go that extra mile.
Getting a new plumbing job meant changing trade schools. Once again I felt like I was starting school again. I’m not going to lie being a female at a TAFE that was 99.9% boys you get a lot of attention, and I mean a lot. But at trade school I was just there to do my work & move on. My class mates were like a family to me and we were all close mates. The teachers knew I was an easy going, down to earth girl who didn’t let anything faze her, who they could joke around with & I think a lot of them took advantage of that. I am not going to go into too much detail about what happened but there were days that I would end up crying in the toilets & wanted to give up. But I didn’t, I woke up one day, dragged myself to trade school and thought these bullies aren’t going to affect me, I have come so far, I’m not letting anything get me down anymore.
I went on to win awards throughout my apprenticeship in my field, working in different states plumbing for my company & so many more amazing things. I couldn’t be happier waking up every morning at the crack of dawn, working on the tools everyday with the most amazing tradesmen and learning new and exciting things!
My whole perspective of life had changed. I was no longer that sad, depressed troubled child anymore. I am a driven individual who wants to make the most out of her life. Every morning I wake up and tell myself that it is going to be a good day no matter what happens. I find a positive in everything & you will never see me without a smile on my face.
Going from a troubled child who didn’t see a future in herself, I have achieved all my goals and much more just because I have faith in myself. I have gone and brought an investment property (because I LOVE the property market). I have walked from Melbourne to Canberra solo (because I LOVE walking & adventure). I have packed up my life to travel around Australia in a van (because I LOVE exploring). I have been a contestant on the reality TV show “Survivor” and got marooned on an island with no food or shelter to fend for myself in cyclone weather (because I LOVE…. I mean because I’m a bloody idiot!)
Go out and chance your dreams because in the end you will finally realise it is going to get you nowhere in life if you just feel sorry for yourself & get upset over things you can’t control.
Life is short, so learn as much as you can & explore as wide as you can because when you are old and fragile you are going to regret every moment that you weren’t doing something that you LOVE!
Love Aimee xxxxx
Follow me on Instagram to keep up with all my adventures.
Me on my 17th Birthday
Yeah see not that spiky…..Just look like a bit of a flog!
(This was the day I got expelled, sorry don’t really have any good photos, thank goodness!)
This is me as the red wiggle if you didn’t realise
Me as a first year apprentice