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Monday, August 15, 2005

What Have I Done ?

One of the rites of passage of moving to a new area is to find all the services that one required in the previous location, such as dry cleaners, grocery stores, hair salon and so on. The latter was my quest this past weekend as I searched for someone to touch up my color. I ended up in a boutique not far from my Saturday karate class.

The hairdresser I was paired with is an interesting character. After 12 years of military intelligence work in Hawaii and Italy, this tall, robust gentleman with the beefy (but surprisingly delicate) hands, is now designing hair at this quaint little salon in downtown Los Gatos.

Not just any stylist, he is one that takes utmost pride in his work. The client's hair is his stamp, his identity, his call sign to the world. His job is not done until the client's style meets this lofty personal standard. I have never known any hair professional with such a sincere and heartfelt investment into the results of his work. After a short conversation, I knew I could trust my future appearance to him.

Then came the crossroads: What to do with my hair ?

I have been perming it since I was a zit-faced 13-year-old entering high school. I hated how my jet-straight, fine hair would plaster itself against my head no matter what I did to try to revive it. In order to keep it the length that I liked, it needed body, it needed life - and curls were the answer at the time. However, years of these harsh chemical treatments, plus the color change I fell in love with, have taken their toll. It is unlikely that my hair will tolerate much more of this abuse. And as the hairdresser pointed out, I am riding on the crest of a massive wave of life changes. What better way to promote the new and improved me than to change my style ?

So I did it. I took a leap of faith. I clutched the picture of Carrie Underwood that he handed to me as an example of his vision, and watched as layers of my treasured hair began softly drifting to the floor.

Oh my God. What have I done ?

Slowly, the pile under the chair grew larger, as the sun glinted off the polished metal scissors dancing around my head. Panic gripped me as I wrestled with the knowledge that there was no turning back. This was it. This was the point of no return.

Fear. Fear of change. Fear of regrets. Fear of what that mirror will tell me when I muster the courage to look into it. I was paralyzed by it. Silenced. Frozen.

What have I done ?

On cue by my stylist, I slowly opened my eyes to survey the damage. For a moment, I was speechless. I didn't know whether to laugh, to cry, or to just sit there with a dumb look on my face. I think I did all three.

Honestly ? It didn't look all that bad. I daresay it was better than I expected.

It will take some getting used to, as all major changes do. I will need to let the curls grow out, to be replaced with healthy, naturally-straight hair. I will need to set aside an extra few minutes of blow-drying time per day to remedy the head-plastering tendency. But surprisingly, I am looking forward to it.

What have I done ?

I have taken a leap of faith, and have updated my outward appearance to reflect the metamorphosis occurring within. I have conquered one more piece of debilitating fear and uncertainty that had been holding me back from making a change like this for years. I have taken another bold step in my ongoing journey of reinvention and self-improvement. And in doing so, I have moved just a little bit closer to becoming the person I have always wanted to be.



My hairdresser's business card shows a cute drawing of a rebellious-looking kid, with the caption "NO MORE HARMLESS HAIR !"

Today, that kid is me.

1 Comments:

Blogger Julia said...

Who is this Los Gatos hair dresser? What shop does he work out of? What are his prices like? I finally found a good hair person but the cost is usually between 80 and 100 smackers when I go in. I don't like having to save up to get a hair cut.

August 18, 2005 at 8:07:00 AM PDT  

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