Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Behind the Hairstyling Chair…Shallow People, BEWARE

When you come across this entry, maybe save it to read it when you have time to think. It’s pretty deep and long. Like a mini-novel blog. 
      I compare “depth to shallow” in a pool-style, body-of-water way. People are like pools.
·        Kiddie pools- great for simple, shallow wading.
·        Standard pools- the choice for casual swimming.
·        Olympic pools- for diving deep.
·        Then, there is the OCEAN- Endlessly deep and complex, with no end in sight.
It would be helpful and nice if some people wore signs, “NO DIVING ALLOWED.”
  Deep people would appreciate that warning and it would spare a lot of wasted time and energy. Diving into a kiddie pool only hurts the one trying to go deep, but doesn’t affect the shallow pool. In contrast, kiddies don’t belong in the deep end, and certainly NOT in the ocean. So, if you don't like deep. You surely will NOT enjoy ...
sub aqua areaDeep Water Signs
(On a shallow/deep note, I happen to have a favorite number. It's 11. After posting, I noticed the time posted was 11:11. J Those things feel like winks from God, kisses from angels and a smile from a face I have never seen. ^^^)

I decided (or knew) what I would do when I grew up by the time I was in 1st grade. Possibly, the industry picked me instead of me picking it, because there never seemed to be another option. I love doing what I feel designed to do and getting paid for simply playing in my passion all day! There has yet to be a day in 22 years of dreading work. I can thank my daddy for that. He didn’t ever tell me what to do growing up, but he DID always say, “Make sure you choose a career you love, enjoy and that comes easy to you because work is where you will spend most of your adult life. Life is too short to be trapped in an environment you hate all day every day. Money won’t help if you are miserable.
          So, off to the land of, “making the world a more beautiful place” is where I skipped. That’s what I do … make people look and feel better and they are always happy to see me. It’s pretty awesome. Often, the time and money budgeted for me is all some people give to themselves each month, 6 weeks, 3 months … whatever. I take the utmost pride in giving them their money’s worth in every way possible. In the process, I get to spend each day with pleasant, pretty people who chose to be with me and who I have chosen to keep in my clientele. By this point in the game, if pleasantness is not a part of the experience, those people have been invited by me to go elsewhere for the service. It must be rewarding for all.
My clients and I do keep our relationship professional in many/most ways, even though they are some of my very best friends/chosen family. I value and respect their time, $ and aim to offer 100% satisfaction in the completed outcome ... Settling for no less and typically being pickier than the client with the final results. Its good to periodically make sure they randomly get stopped and complimented because of their hair when they are out in public. The info is a must and tells the secret I need to know.
As for my clients, they are priceless. I have not taken new clients in over a decade (a few exceptions along the way in special circumstances) and they pre-book 1 year in advance. These people never cancel “just because they don’t feel like coming.” They keep their appointments no matter what, unless it is absolutely unavoidable, and I do the same. Many vacations get planned around hair appointments. We are all committed to not inconvenience the other if at all possible.
We have fun and talk, but I keep their time sacred. My children think they are related to my clientele and my clients carry a sense of pride for my girls, BUT my girls know that when someone is in my chair, that moment in time and my attention belongs to the person in the chair with the hair
       As for the children within my clientele, many of the kids (some now teens and early 20’s) have never been to another stylist. Professionally speaking, my hands are the only set of hands ever to touch their hair! I’m all they have known since birth, as far as hair goes. Going to someone else would be foreign. They are my client babies, I love them and they know they are loved. Even better is that it is mutual! Basically, we all have it made from our perspective.

What’s the point of me writing all of this? Simple: because it is what I am supposed to do. Things are getting a little deeper ...
       In the twenty+ years of standing behind that chair; my eyes have seen a lot, my ears have heard a lot, my hands have felt various textures and my heart has been touched by many lives. As a 6 year old little girl playing with Barbie doll hair, I never dreamed that my dream would be so multi-faceted. I could have never guessed or known what would come into my life from simply liking beautiful things and having a gift of talking, listening and understanding.
It is kind of cool in some strange way that people see my job as shallow and vain. As I always say, “hairspray and gossip” is the perception. That's not what it is REALLY like, at least the way it goes in my world. Today, I realize one really profound thing after experiencing 2 back to back 12 hour days of non-stop clients …

The last 2 days have brought a lot of intensity through my door. Not in a bad way, but in a real way. The multitude of so many walks in such a small window of time caused me to do a lot of reflecting, internally and about what my career’s lifespan has shown me. It hit me, It takes until this time in life to really get your own childhood. We really cannot understand where we’ve been until after we’ve passed it and processed it along with the present.
As I listen and learn about others’ journeys, my life is portrayed in a completely different way. It truly takes growing up, seeing how others have turned out, making adult friends, having children, raising them and aging to REALLY get how functional or dysfunctional your own life has been.
As a child, the life we live is all we know, so it is our version of “normal.” Then, as we age, we make choices and begin paving our path in either similar or opposite ways as what we learned during our younger years. However, we usually cannot unveil how good or bad our life and the people we were surrounded by really were until the evolution happens. It’s kind of scary. Everything and everyone takes on a different look than the one we remember as a child.
As for me, I had a little healthy dose of both, the function and dysfunction. I was not raised by Ward and June in a Beaver Cleaver family, complete with a white picket fence … but I also did not grow up on the streets or raise myself with no adult supervision. I just fit comfortably in the middle. There was enough of the good to be thankful and enough of the dysfunction to wonder how and why some things can happen in life and/or how I turned out the way I did. (That can be in a positive or negative way, depending on who is making/reading the statement.)

Now, here I am on the other side. Hearing stories of triumphs and struggles as people navigate through their mazes.
Some had the perfect sheltered life, and then grew up to realize that was not reality. Now life seems like a demented façade.
       Some have been awarded the same, easy, standard-protocol life as they had growing up. Mom and dad stay together, everyone goes to church every Sunday and Wednesday, home cooked meals are always eaten at the table, families get together regularly, 2 kids, a dog and everyone lives happily ever after … unaffected by divorce, abuse, drugs, alcohol death or depression. There really are some of those people left; but by my calculations, only like two, or maybe three ...
On to the norm:
        Many things people go through are foreign to me. If my clients did not share, I would never know such situations happen in a life. ALL of them have been shared on numerous occasions over the years. None of them are "one person's story." ALL represent over at least 4 or 5, usually more. I write because some of us have no other way to know or have never taken the time to stop and think ... gaining compassion, sympathy, empathy, relating ... OR SOMETHING!! I just know something good comes from hearts touching.
Some powerful things are learned standing behind a hydraulic chair... huge craters that go beyond the hair color and cut.
Things like: People who have affairs are not always bad, mean, terrible people. I had no clue it could happen innocently and cause such grief. The effects are as devastating as a death. A terrible loss of love and no one will sympathize with the “sinner.” One can't express that kind of pain because people don’t understand or care … but the hurt is still there, mixed with a dose of shame.
I did not know that a husband addicted to pornography can tear a woman’s self-esteem down as much or more than if he had an affair with a real person. I didn’t even understand that pornography can become an “addiction” in the first place. Not to mention, ANYONE can suffer addiction to all kinds of things, no matter how smart, wealthy, pretty or righteous. Oddly, sometimes the indication is the unnecessary declaration that they do not have a problem. All the same, once the addiction surfaces, no one steps forward with a prideful smile. 
There are some who do not fit the mold of society. They are considered “alternative” to the world and have learned to find their way. I cannot say I personally comprehend it, but I hear the person explaining it to me when she (or he) has found someone who understands her, and who she understands. I get that, even if I don’t get the lifestyle, no matter what her personal choices may be. We are the same in the way that we have feelings. All people radiate when one is happy within.
        I had no idea what a parent or spouse goes through when his/her loved one makes poor choices and ends up behind bars. People are either trying to find money for bail, or strength to leave someone in jail to deal with his/her actions. As if that's not enough, the whispers about the dysfunction within the home circulate.
Branded with scarlet letters … There are SO MANY scarlet letters …
There are a few answers to the question asked by those who have never walked in an abused person’s shoes, “WHY do women stay with men who abuse them?! Why don’t they just LEAVE?!”
LOTS of reasons. Love is powerful, complex and strong ... not simple. There are countless women who are or have been abused and we would never know it. Why do they stay? Are they THAT weak?
 NO! They are THAT strong. They stay to fight for a love they once knew. They stay for their babies. They stay to prevent the shame and embarrassment leaving would cause to all. They stay because it hurts too bad to tell anyone that another adult is hitting or hurting them. They stay in attempt to obtain love from this person, and then they will feel worthy. They stay because there is nowhere else to go. They stay because of the fear that has been instilled within them. If it has gone on for long enough, they stay because it’s all they know … UNTIL they discover there is a way out.
Listening taught how long and bumpy the road out of that is. Now I know why they stayed so long. It is an incredible transition to watch the process of a trapped woman being set free from abuse. Once her wounds begin to heal, she begins to shine brighter than any star in the night sky. She breathes fresh air for the first time, and she lets out constant sighs of relief. She can see beauty in the simple things such as dirty dishes or doing laundry. She loves the normalcy. I can see her evolution from one visit in my chair to the next. That’s true of the ones slipping into the darkness, AND the ones who have the blessing of coming out of it …
 I didn’t know that a mastectomy or hysterectomy can make a woman feel like she also lost part of being and feeling “female.” The loss of hair due to balding is stripping for both genders, as is the loss of mobility from sickness or an accident. I try to imagine having the composure to sit in my chair, as so many have, and allow my stylist to cut and then shave my long hair to prepare for the loss of it due to my upcoming chemo … in unison with the fight for my life.
I see the protestors against abortion, but never realized what agony those signs can cause a woman, years after thinking she was doing the right thing. Who does she cry to about that?
Others are dealing with the lasting effects of a horrendous, abusive time from those younger years; a stolen childhood with no super hero that saved the day. The years that were supposed to be fun and innocent, but they were not. How I wish I could find a memory delete button to take those replaying visions and memories from the minds of my sweet friends. Their tears drip a pain many will never know can reside in a being. The best way to describe it is a bleeding emotion.

I know when my clients/friends are carrying a burden on their hearts, even if they do not tell me. It is obvious something has been touched within them when for no apparent reason I ask, “What’s causing this dark, heavy blanket over you. What is happening?”
Many times I get a wide eyed, hesitant response of, “Nothing … why do you ask me that?
I answer, “Because I see it, feel it and I know its there. I know something within you is not well.”
That 6th sense usually shocks both of us. Sometimes, it looks like a wave of something hits a person when someone else senses a hidden hurt. Its bad, but good that a pin hole has been punctured to let some of the pressure out. Like a shaken carbonated drink needing to have the cap cracked just a little before it reaches the point of exploding. And, yes, I have been asked the same question on occasion by my intuitive clients who tapped into my hidden pain peeping out from behind my smiling mask. Genuine can see genuine. It is nothing more than an ability to tell the difference between solid gold and gold plated, or a diamond and a CZ. Look at them long enough, and its easy to tell. I'm no exception.
I cannot count how many times over the years I have heard a certain comment when people get downright real. It is so powerful. Time and time again, a set of eyes will be looking at me through a heavy, thick film of tears … the person can hardly get the words out through this veil of pain. Life has escalated to a heavy place and there is no visible light at the end of the tunnel. That may be from the loss of a child, spouse or other loved one, cancer/sickness entering a life, divorce taking away life as it has always been, haunting memories of things that cannot be erased … so many reasons to sobbingly say, “Do you understand? … I don’t … want … to be … here … anymore.”
It is a chilling reality. Sadly, but thankfully, I DO understand that. I wish I didn’t, but I do. The suffocation that comes from trying everything known and nothing gets better. Certain things cannot be undone … like death, for example, is permanent. No cure. It is what it is and we know that none of that pain resides where God and Jesus live. Who WOULDN’T want to be in heaven when things are sad, bad and icky here?
However, we must rise above the pain and never give in to the surrender that seems to be an option. It may or may not mean the actual taking of one’s own life, but the mere wish that his/her life would end somehow. A plea for God to make the air stop circulating and the heart’s beat to cease.
Possibly I recognize it because I have seen the same reflection in my own mirror. Now, after all of these years, I know I cannot fix that pain … I can only fix the hair. Typically, the eyes filled with these tears of pain belong to a person wearing a cape, possibly has wet hair, hair color on or a head covered in aluminum foil … but the hurt doesn’t care. All I have to give is all that is needed. I have a valuable hug and lots of genuine love. My only words need to be, “Hang on. Don’t give in and don’t give up. I love you, God loves you more. Grieve it, but know and believe it WILL pass. I want you here … You’ve got to stay! Besides, look how cute you are!”
There is a smile to be received and I have one to give in return. J


I don’t know why I have written this blog … but it flowed out like a river, so I know it was inspired from a place beyond the simplicity of me. Peace be to whomever needed some part of these words. You are so special and loved … even if you don’t have a hairdresser or even any hair!

As for me, my childhood is and is not what I thought it was … same with this adulthood stuff. I think I’m starting to get that I’m never going to “get” it all. I do wonder, “How will MY children remember and interpret THEIR childhoods?”
It will be interesting to hear, but maybe not! I must wait another 10 or 20 years for those stories to be revealed …

Dysfunctionaly functional Olympic pool … Ocean-style,


  1. I love listening to the depths of your heart. It's amazing to see how God has prepared you for your purpose and place in this world at this time. I know that your clients deeply appreciate the blessing that comes from time spent in your chair. I know I would...if I had hair. :)

    You are deep waters...thanks for pouring some out for us.


  2. Loved it! Anyone and all that reads will be touched! You just simply "think" you were meant to be a hairdresser... that is only an avenue for your true gift in life! Love you Bunches! Your sista from another mista