Oooh! Time got away from me this week. As I reflect back on the week, it seems like the predominant theme was break ups. People are stressed about what is going on in the economy, the war in Iraq, the housing market, and relationship. I felt helpless to say anything that would make a difference, yet when there is only the two of you, the client and the hairstylist, there is a discomfort sometimes in sitting with what is. One client was married for years, and assumed that meant that they would be together forever. Apparently not. My client is the one that needs to move out, find a job, because she is the entrepreneur in the family. Her whole life will now change, because the other sees no way, but out. My client had stripped the beautiful peacock colors, and the deep red base from her hair, leaving a pale peach color. She felt she needed to look more conservative to look for a job. I couldn't help but feel, she needed to retreat from the world, she wanted to fade into the background and not be noticed. I felt sad.
I cut her hair, and occasionally I would ask a question, but there was nothing to say. My client was devastated, and a bit numb, like it was hard to access feeling around it. And then I realized, we never really did talk about her wife, except to say how wonderful, and talented she was. But no guts. I knew one side of my clients life, the side that she presented to me, and the rest was barracaded, no entry allowed. And it's not my job to pry.
I said some awkward something, that sounded like keep your chin up. Uggh! I felt terrible. I was uncomfortable.
Then, a stylist is in the break room sobbing, because she is breaking up with her guy. I was moved by her ability to emote, and just let the feelings be there. And all I did, was ask what's up? You look down. That's all it took, and the tears came flowing down. I felt relieved, and I thought back to my client, and hoped that sometime, somewhere, she would let herself cry the tears that need to be shed.
Through the evening, when the day was done, and the unusual warm night touched my skin, the salon is a place where hair is cut and colored, beauty is tended to, and yet we all walk in with our history, our stories, and our humanity. By interacting, interfacing, we touch each others lives, no matter how we are feeling about it. And try as we might to have it be about the hair, sometimes the stuff underneath needs to be experienced, and dealt with in the most delicate way.