01 Jan The Perfect Haircut – The Perfect Me
The Perfect Haircut – The Perfect Me
By Ariel Kane
Years ago I was deeply upset. Of course, I didn’t realize I was perpetually upset because feeling disturbed and emotional wasn’t a constant thing – it ebbed and flowed. At the time, I was unaware that I lived over top of an underground river of upsetting feelings that the surfaced every time the circumstances broke through the shallow ground that covered them. I know it’s hard to believe but I used to get deeply upset every time I got a haircut. With the first snip of the scissors an upwelling of emotion would emerge and by the time my hair was shorn, I would be holding back tears. After each appointment, I would often feel bereft, experiencing an odd sense of loss, as if I had left an important piece of me (or many little pieces of me) behind. I would step out of the salon and walk down the streets of New York City plagued by incessant mental chatter: Are my bangs too short? Do I like the cut? Are my new highlights bright enough? – All while my reflection in storefront windows ghosted along beside me, mirroring my inner doubts and emotional turmoil. It’s now decades later and I am rarely deeply upset by anything – especially not my hair.
Recently I went to my usual appointment with master haircutter and salon owner Michel. After his assistant washed my hair, I sat in the chair with the white apron draped around my neck. I smiled at Michel in the mirror as I chatted with him, then closed my eyes and let him work his magic. After enjoying the sensations for a while I opened my eyes once again and enjoyed watching the master at work:
Snip. Snip with his sharp scissors. Another pass through with his barber shears – the top blade looking like a fine comb. Next he cleaned up the edges with the electric hair trimmer. Then a check of the contour of the cut. A few extra snips to trim a rogue lock or two. Then a final pass through with the special set of scissors – actually three sets of blades working together to finalize the look. Next a rinse by the assistant and a quick blow-dry. When all was done Michel returned to give me a final looksee and put on a dab of “product” (also known as hair gel) as his final step before pronouncing, “Voilà.”
Now it was Michel’s turn close his eyes and smile. Opening them he said, “I love your hair! You have no idea how much I enjoy cutting it!”
I love my hair, too, these days. Of course it really isn’t about my hair at all. I just feel well in myself and it takes something much more monumental than a simple haircut to shake my state of well-being. Although Michel is the same person I went to for haircuts back then during the upset years, now I am different. Of course my hairstyle has evolved and Michel has much more experience under his belt but I doubt my delight each time he cuts my hair has to do with his skill level advancing. Perhaps it is that I sit in his chair without doubt, unconcerned with the outcome. I trust him. I trust me. So I don’t need to direct him – I let him create and express himself and as a result I become a living piece of art.
As I left Michel’s, I was reminded once again of several things. First that not only is Transformation instantaneous, paradoxically it is also cumulative – something that gets deeper and richer overtime. I also recognized that through the practice of allowing myself to feel things, even sadness, upset and loss, without blaming the circumstances that apparently generated them, I have over the years effortlessly become happier and far more content.
These days the highlights in my hair are threads of silver – each strand a shimmer of perfection. If my haircut comes out shorter than I expect or grows out a tad long between visits to Michel, or if I go to sleep with my hair wet – never a smart move on my part – it all matters not, because I have the perfect haircut and in this moment I am the perfect me.
Note to self: Don’t go to sleep with your hair wet!