JUDSONIA, Ark. — A White County hairstylist is combining her passion with her story, in hopes that the people sitting in her chair know they can make it, too.
Chasity Malnar said all her life she just wanted to be something different, but after suffering from addiction for almost 20 years, she said she lost that hope.
Now nine years sober, Malnar has turned her life around while helping others who are on her same path to do the same.
“You have to have a strong foundation and you can’t do it alone,” she said.
Behind the doors of TJ’s Fitness & Salon in Judsonia, changes are being made and not just to people’s hair.
“I wanted to focus on people and let them know that they have a chance to recover, just like I did,” Malnar said.
She became addicted to meth at the age of 17 and spent the next 20 years in and out of prison and different rehab centers.
“I didn’t think I could be a mom, I didn’t think I could be a wife, I didn’t think I could be a daughter. I didn’t think I could be any of those things. You just go so far in life and beat yourself down and you don’t believe you can do anything different,” Malnar said.
After what she described as a long road, belief finally came with the birth of her granddaughter.
“I just woke up and said ‘God, help me’ and I changed my life around for her,” Malnar said.
Through determination and faith, she got clean.
“I was the one person that law enforcement around here would say would never make it, I was. I was the one that they said wouldn’t make it and I was the one that did,” Malnar said.
For the past nine years, she has used her story alongside her scissors, by giving free haircuts to people who are in a point in their lives she knows all too well.
“To me, by telling my story, if just one grasps a hold of it and they make it, then it was worth it,” Malnar said.
This year, she wanted her words of wisdom to reach even further, so she invited every man and woman in Daughters Of The Other Side and Complete in Christ Restoration Center to come to her salon and get a haircut as a holiday gift to remind them their stories matter.
Stories like Timothy Heissler’s.
“Until about three years ago, I was homeless on the streets of Tulsa,” Heissler said.
He struggled with a heroin addiction for close to 16 years, then was clean for almost 10 years. But two months ago, he found himself back to where he started.
“Just being clean as long as I was and messing up thinking I had it, it was really hard on me personally,” Heissler said.
Now only a few months into the program, he is getting back on his feet, which he said he owes all to God.
“If I wouldn’t have found Him, I believe I would be dead. I really would,” Heissler said.
Amid the snipping and the shaving, Malnar said there’s one main message she hopes everyone latches onto.
“Your story is special. No matter what you’ve done, what you’ve used, or where you’ve been, your story is special and you can help somebody,” she said.
Daughters Of The Other Side and Complete in Christ Restoration Center are both faith-based recovery centers that run off donations.
If you’d like to donate or want to learn more about these resources, you can contact Daughters Of The Other Side at 501-742-1442 and Complete in Christ Restoration Center at 501-380-6673.