MILWAUKEE — In the midst of the energy and music buzzing throughout Summerfest grounds lies a small yet peaceful Henna tattoo booth.
Kashia Ayz, a local Henna artist, grew up attending the festival as a child but never dreamed she would one day be working at the event while pursuing her dream.
"I always use to draw on myself," said Ayz.
One hobby led to the next, and before she knew it, she had a tube filled with Henna always with her.
"My friend had a tube and I was able to get my hands on it, and it totally took off from there," she said.
However, it wasn't an upward trajectory for Ayz. Through her teenage years, she battled depression.
"I actually attempted suicide. I felt very voiceless, I didn't know how to handle my emotions," she said.
She turned to self-harm, hoping for some sort of outlet, but quickly turned her life around after realizing her passion for Henna. She says her paste, made up of essential oils, contains ayurvedic properties that helped heal and mask the scars from her self-inflicted wounds.
Now she hopes to do the same for others. "I want people to feel not only beautified but relaxed and healed," she said.
As she continues on her road to recovery, she's realized a key life lesson.
"We learn how to deal with pain, we learn how to develop techniques and tools to not only survive, but to thrive and live."
A lesson she hopes to illustrate one Henna stroke at a time.