Posts filed under Family

Unsolicited Hair Stories

I can pretty much guarantee you, the moment I let someone know I am a hairdresser, that I will inevitably hear a hair story.  But the one I heard the other day, came unsolicited.  I was at the hospital with my sister waiting long hours while she healed at an imperceptiblespeed.  During the day, I had made runs out to the nurses station for various requests, i.e., water, cotton swabs for the mouth, robe change, etc.  The last run out to the nurses station was complicated for me.  I was looking for a sign that it was okay to leave, and that my sister would be in good hands if I left.  The nurse Becky, upon seeing my awkward attempt at having her absolve my guilt, said, "No problem!  We will take care of her. In fact, we will check on her more since you are leaving." I said, "Oh good. I have got a 5 year old I need to take care of at home." 

"Oh, no.  She doesn't need you."  You know, when I was five, I cut my hair and stuffed it in my father's shoe, thinking he would never find it there." 

"Really?"  I asked.  "Did you know I was a hairdresser?"

She went on to tell me her father found the hair, and they did cut the rest of her hair off.  (I would have liked to have seen how that story played out)

It seems to be a theme. Because when I returned home, I slept most of the night, and although it was hard to get up in the morning, I was excited to spend the day with my family.  We get to the park where a July 4th party is in full swing, put on by the city of El Cerrito, and I run into a friend, who's daughter I get to finally meet.  The girl is beautiful, and her hair is cut as short as mine is now. My friend says, "She took the scissors to it yesterday," as she motioned at the front of her daughter's hair.  "We cut the rest of it to match."  Her daughter covered her head in embarassment.

I guess I better keep scissors out of hand's reach of my five year old.

Posted on July 5, 2008 and filed under Family, hair, hairstylist, Life.

The Observer

No sequay from politics, to beauty, and now an eight-year-old desire of a guest at the salon(but not a client), to be a paleontologist. A client came in the other day with her grandson, Ryan. I pulled up the leopard print chair for him to sit on, while we consulted about her hair. After the shampoo, we all settled into our little real estate around my station. Ryan had blonde straight hair, the kind of blonde that women pay top dollar for, the perfect honey color with lots of shine. He wore large round eyeglasses, and rather simple attire. Except for the hoodie his grandmother, my client, had just purchased for him. Little crocodiles patterned all over this hoodie, their eyes peering out at me. As he began to speak, his high IQ, and obvious language skills perked my ears. The cutting was going well, when a creative burst came through me, and I asked if I could interview her grandson. They both thought this would be grand.

As I cut a layered, oval shape on my client, her grandson watching while he spoke his thoughts on creativity.

Posted on June 17, 2008 and filed under Creativity, Family, hairstylist, self-expression.

Spark a Smile

A new client came in the other day.  Another contact from Jennifer Butler.  Nancy Procurier is her name, and talk about sprite!  More like vivacious, fun, good hearted, attractive, a great smile and laugh.  Spending time with Nancy was like dancing the cha cha cha, we laughed, we shared business ideas, stories from our past, back and forth, step, step, step. She came in with long, heavy mid blonde hair, with highlights, pinned up.  She wore high heels and shorts, and large sunglasses.  Hip, with a desire for change, for more femininity.  This woman is busting out of her comfort zone, and what better set up could a hairdresser ask for.  She was respectful of my ideas, and we were able to build rapport with a snap of a finger.  I suggested she bring up the length to at least mid back, shape it around the front, and release the crown.  I wanted to see more movement to match her energy, and size of her facial features.

As we layered, and lengths flew to the floor, we went for getting in as much as we could.  Her business is brilliant!  It's based on fostering contact between aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc, and the kids in their life.  She sends them mail for you.  That's right a bright envelope, with big letters!  The envelope contains different fun things based on themes she creates through the year.  I love it! Not only is her service fostering contact and connection with those little loved ones, who may live miles away, but it's fostering letter writing, a lost art.

Check it out!

It takes a lot of courage and inner strength to make change.  Beautiful job Nancy.  Thank you.  Stayed tune for make up and hair photo.


Okay, I've been avoiding telling you this. But admission has to do with beauty, in some twisted way. On Sunday, my daughter had her fifth birthday party. All was well, her three friends, her Nana and Bapa, her nanny and her two kids, all came to celebrate her day. Her auntie came as well. Well, this auntie had different values, and struggles to keep in alignment with her values. Who am I kidding, we all do. But there is a way, she resists my boundaries with my own child. She has been wanting, and lamenting, that I do not want her to take my daughter to a Princess Ice Show. She says in front of the group, something like, "I've been thinking about this, and I think you need to not make this a big deal." Okay. I should mention, she has a masters in social work.

So, we have the cake, and then the gifts. I have to admit this makes me uncomfortable, and feel out of control. We all watched as my daughter, painstakingly so, unwrap her gifts, legs crossed and all. She is not a ripper, she, with care and ease, removes the tape, and so on. You get the picture.

She gets to the bag my sister gave her. It is full of individually wrapped gifts, excess is what she knows. First, there is a four strand bracelet, chunky in style. Then, a necklace, a jewelry box, a large floral print shirt that cinches in at the waist, with a three-inch-in-diameter sparkling, rhinestone ring, right underneath a bra line, is she had one. For a grand finale, a Barbie.

She unwrapped it, and, of course, she hadn't seen one before, as far as I know. She exclaimed, "Barbie!", like she was a long, lost friend. She wanted to open the box then, and there. I whisked it out of her hand so quickly, and said "Later, we have guests now."

I wanted to cry, die, and pummel my sister. I felt betrayed, and like her actions were passive aggressive. I couldn't even look at this Barbie. I flung it high up into the closet. The gifts felt like they were for a woman, not a FIVE years old. Not my five year old.

I did cry. I talked to clients at work. My grounded older clients said, don't sweat it. Let her have them. There is no harm done. The more you resist, the more your daughter will want them.

My partner said he overheard our daughter playing in her room. She was sitting on the bed, looking at her valentines from school. Of course, there were a few Princess theme valentines. She told them, "You know, my mama doesn't like you."

I laughed, and then I felt sad. I can't get nothing by her. She is tuned into me, more than anybody I know.

I came home from work on Monday, and pulled the exiled Barbie down out of the closet, and gave it to her. It is disgusting for me to look at, nothing real about her. My daughter is playing with it a bit, she complains that the plastic shoes come off too easily.

This is worth a therapy session I am sure. But for now Barbie has made her way into my home and I am bereft. and still digesting it all.

Posted on February 20, 2008 and filed under boundaries, Family, Life, Love.

Balancing Life

I've got a lot of questions today. The balance of writing, working behind the chair, daughter time and partner  time, let alone time for myself is one that is fit for the finest circus.  I mean and I love everything I'm doing.  Is the doing about the doing though?   What would it be like to not do for a change, or are doers always fantasizing about the possibility of not doing?  Is the doing a cover up, for fear nothing will happen?    Some would say, "Get yourself to a therapist, quick."  But I feel done with that for now.

I heard, while traveling in India for six months, years ago, "whatever you are here to do, will be done through you, whether you are consciously working on it or not." 

So does it happen unconsciously?  Is it magic?  Does it happen while I sleep?  A simple guided tour map of our life handed to us as we slipped into the world, would be helpful.  We wouldn't have to know all the details, that would be dull and boring.  But if we knew that we would be doing exactly what we are to do this life, we could relax.  Take a vacation, read a book with our feet up on the sofa, take more walks and breathe in more fresh air, snuggle with our lover, play with our kids.

So, do you think hearing that from the teacher has helped any?  I mean, I'm supposed to know it, right?  But I do what I do, what I think I'm supposed to do, creating my own reality, full of it's limitations, every minute.  Am I running from something, or to something?  If I stop long enough, I can see I am still with me.

How can I stop, when there is so much to do.  So many things in life I have yet to experience.  I want to do hair the rest of my life and do it well, masterfully.  Maybe I don't need to stand behind the chair 4/7.  I want to travel to Baja, with my family and see the whales birth, and visit the Rodin museum in Paris, visit Africa and look into the eyes of a gorilla, and smell the earth, visit my mentor in Japan and see the cherry trees in bloom.  I want to experience having a real conversation with my mother, without her talking over me, I want to meet with teams of highly creative people, talk to them, create together.  I want to finish my book, I want to...the list is long.  How can one stop?

I will continue to do because I have to.  A life not verging on insanity will have to come some other time. 

Posted on February 8, 2008 and filed under Dreams, Family, Friendship, inspiration, Life, Love, writing.

Gloria Heads

When I lay in bed the other day, sick with the flu, my five year old daughter brought a stack of books in to read to me.  When she was done with that, she brought in her "Gloria" head.  These are the heads we learned cutting on in beauty school.  She brought brushes, combs, clips and ribbons.  She climbed up and proceeded to give a class.  "You hold the hair like this, take this piece and move it over here.  Put a clip here." etc.  She said, "I amSavanna."   She has watched many Bumble and  Bumble classes at the salon, with Savanna teaching.  She has the mannerisms, language and dexterity of a true teacher.  She is sure of herself and gives clear instruction. 

In my flu stupor, I told her so.  I have to say, I felt better afterwards.

Posted on February 4, 2008 and filed under Family, Hairstyling, Life, Love.

Princess Christmas

More on the Princess theme.  So you do the best you can with what you have.  The fight against mainstream, corporate ideas like Disney, can be lonely.  Is it a battle I need to wage?  I think it's in my daughter's best interest that I do, but does it encourage a possible rebellion later, by not accepting her fantasy play?  While we are dressing for dinner, she is in tears because she wants to be as "pretty as me."  Where does the comparing come from? Before Auntie gives the gifts that are already wrapped to my daughter, she asks me, in front of her sister-in-law, "Is it okay if I give her the Minnie the Mouse dress and the Ariel dress as a gift?"  

I answered, "Well...okay."  They were already wrapped.  I felt like the evil mother.

Later, she brings out a coat for her, unwrapped.  "Can I give her this?"  The asking permission stems from already knowing the answer, but wanting to pursue the answer she wants to hear. 

"Yes, I'm sure she will like that.  Then maybe give the coat instead of the dresses, or just one of them."

"I asked you earlier."

"I know, but that is a lot of gifts, she will just be overwhelmed."

"Okay, well I don't know which one is which, so we will just flag them when they come up."


So, my daughter opens up the package, and it's the Ariel dress.  She lets out a cry of joy.   But doesn't put it on all day, thank God.  I think this is my problem.  I can't stand up to the pressure, and I can't let go of my belief that she is being spoon fed empty, uncreative play.  I am mushy all around and this makes me very unhappy.

As far as the comparing herself to me and others with how she looks, I hope this is not the beginning of an issue we will have to be contending with later. 

Is this what clients do, compare themselves to me, is there something I am exuding that creates this response?

Posted on December 26, 2007 and filed under Family.

Princess Overload

My daughter is just about five years old.  She is a charming, loving, and smart, and knows what she wants.  However, this stage we are going through now has me completely turned upside down.  She breathes, sleeps and talks Princess-- changing into Princess dresses that people have given to her immediately when she gets home from school.  The other day I thought I would fall over, grief-stricken, when she was dancing around and singing, "I'm a Barbie, I'm a Barbie."  My partner overheard and gave me a big smile, saying without having to say, "it's time you heal the princess within." The other day she talked about Princesses having long nails.  I muttered, "There are plenty of princesses that have short nails." 

She answered, "No there is not.  We are just pretending."

In the parent-teacher conference the other day they even said, "The Princess thing is a little over the top."  I exclaimed, "I know, and she doesn't even watch TV."

So where is she getting it?  The other girls, bill boards for more Disney films we see on the way to school,viewing Disney schlock at her Auntie's house.  What little she has watched has made a major impact on her psyche.  Are the pictures,and discussion amongst her friends tapping into the archetypal?  Or is my being a hairstylist and applying lipstick before I walk out the door contributing to her fantasies?  It appears there are lots of factors.

How long will this go on though?  I will be styling hair for the foreseeable future.  I've got to find a way to ask her about it, to have dialogue with her.  Otherwise, I will, as I have before, toss out anything smells of Princess in the wee hours of the morning while she sleeps. 

Is this a sign of our times?  I just don't remember identifying with princesses when I was her age.  The advertising, marketers have beat this one into the ground, and for what?  I'm saddened at the loss of their own pictures rather than Disney pictures in their head.  I'm saddened at the ways I contribute to keeping this story alive for her as well.

Posted on December 21, 2007 and filed under Family.

Hair Types and Personalities

Over the years, I have thought about how the different hair-types match the personality of a person?  Does curly hair match a more-than-what-meets-the-eye kind of personality?  Does frizzy hair match a more complicated, uncontainable personality?   And does a pokey head of hair match a defiant personality?  I am thinking about this now as it relates to my family, whom I am visiting for the holiday with my four sisters, one brother, and their families.  Pondering this notion, if nothing else, buys me some time from considering how we are disconnected and have not changed much at all. The third oldest is the one with the most hair, she is growing her hair out again, it is mid-length, around her shoulders and big.  I mean she has three times the amount of all of us, is definitely the ringleader, activity director, and certainly one of the most vocal of the clan.  Then there is the oldest sister, who has straight, coarse, very short hair and is also one of the outspoken ones.  Her language has become more abrasive, as her personality has, shouting seems to be the way she communicates.  She refuses to change, even when she is miserable.  The fourth oldest sister wears her fine hair long, down to her lower back, it looks like there is an old perm on the last six inches or so.  She is not verbal at at, in fact it seems as if the muscles around her mouth have contracted, giving her limited range of motion.  She sends little verbal dings when she does speak, or piles on the guilt.  My brother has a lot of hair as well, sort of curly on the ends, although it looks a bit like a Mullet now, it's better than the militaristic look it had five years ago, which is the last time I saw him.  He comes off tough, and sometimes will spew racial, political words that seem spoon fed to him from some right wing rhetoric on TV, but he is the first to give hugs.

Then there is my parents, both have a lot less hair, both are all grey and white.   My dad just turned eighty years old yesterday and my mom is seventy four, both are showing signs of her age, she was limping yesterday.  My dad is soft-spoken, like his fine hair which lies down smooth, although he has been known to stand up on his political soapbox as well, he has spared us this trip.  My mother has a bit more texture to her hair, and she perms it to make it do what she would like, not so unlike her subtle manipulation with us.

And me, I am one of the soft spoken ones, particularly when around my sisters, who compete and play verbal hardball.  I do wish I had a quick mind and verbal ability, I have come to accept it is not me.  My hair is fine and short today, with some bend if given encouragement which could be indicative of my somewhat pathological need for constant fluffing, keeping things fresh, and change.

Hair texture aside, my family is familiar and yet my life is so unlike theirs.  And all though we strive to connect, we cannot go back and rewrite the play of our lives.  We love each other and we do connect in small ways.

Posted on November 21, 2007 and filed under Family.