I have one very serious question for you. How much of your long hair do you have to lose before you love yourself?
My face is too round, my nose sticks out too much, I need to hide my wrinkles, I hate my stretch marks, I’m too fat for long hair; the list of self-negative statements goes on and on. 31 years ago when I began hairdressing I thought that cutting hair was the most important thing to learn, but now I have realised the big picture.
Hairdressing is much more than up-do’s and perms, it’s much more than changing the colour of someone’s hair, it’s about changing people’s attitudes toward themselves. Changing a person’s outward appearance is really a small part of being a hairdresser. It took me ten years to perfect my cutting skills, but that was easy compared to learning people skills.
Every day I hear amazing stories about life and the universe from my clients, they come to me for much more than a new look.
So where am I going with this discourse? Some of the stories I hear from my clients are repetitive, like the ones I’ve mentioned, (My face is too round, my nose sticks out too much, I’m too fat for long hair, bla bla bla), but for the most part I am enlivened by the beautiful and often dramatic lives of the women I meet every day.
This article is dedicated to a very special client named Kerry with whom I have bonded on a philosophical and spiritual plane…When I first met Kerry she exuded health and vitality, ambition and an amazing passion for life.
Tall, attractive and confident, and every man’s dream. Little did I realise that under the vivacious facade was a woman dealing with serious life issues. When Kerry told me she had breast cancer I admired her for her calmness and strength but was a little unnerved by her willingness to discuss her condition.
It was some time before I saw Kerry again. She was still full of beans even though she had undergone surgery to remove both her breasts and she was facing the possibility of more tumours and more surgery, chemotherapy-the works. I was astonished at her calm outlook on life and inspired by her positivity in the face of something so traumatic.
Kerry bounced into the salon ten weeks later with long red hair and because I had cut her hair quite short last time, it took me a minute to realise she was wearing a wig. “Can you do anything with this?” she laughed as she wrenched the wig from her head revealing her bald head. Even though she had lost her hair from chemotherapy she was still in love with life and more importantly, herself! We trimmed the wig and she left the salon looking like a million bucks as usual, leaving all of us with a smile on our faces. To be honest I shed a tear because I wasn’t sure if I would ever see Kerry again. As a hairstylist, you just never know.
Thankfully, I have seen Kerry many times since that day, her hair has grown back and even though it’s frizzy she loves it because she believes its a symbol of her of her inwardly projected security and outwardly projected courage. I’ve related this story to you because Kerry was one of those women, (clients), that had openly shared her unloved parts with me, much like the thousands of women before her and the thousands after. Hers went more like this. “I’m too tall, and I think my breasts are too small.” I wish I had a buck for every time a women has said those words to me. Yep, you’re right, I’d be even more wealthy!
Now listen up, here’s where it gets interesting. After all she had been through she had the courage to face life and believe in the beauty of her existence no matter what physical and mental hardship was to come her way. It gets deeper than this.
I’d like to finish with some inspirational words from this truly beautiful woman and hope that they will engender in all who read them a sense of self worth that outshines the beauty myth that seems to be such a big part of our everyday life for women.
I’ll never forget the day these words fell from her mouth…
“When I stand naked in front of the mirror, no hair and no breasts I see a whole new me and I love myself more than ever before. It cost me my breasts before I realised that there was nothing wrong with me or them in the first place and I feel more complete now than I have ever before. I love all of me for the great person I am and not for how I would like others to see me.”
Thank you Kerry for allowing me to share your story with others and for being the wonderful person you are.