Saturday, October 10, 2009

time for a haircut

Getting my hair cut makes me feel new. It's, in my case, a quite literal freeing act (of layers of thick hair) that pushes me to imagine that I can start over in some way. I realize that that may sound like a tall order for such a routine task, but between the idea that someone else is taking over the task and the fact that I can just be for a while in addition to the luxury of purposely spending a little time on myself every once in a while is very satisfying. It's an energy drink for my soul.

The stylist that I went to today was new to me. Michelle is young and upbeat, just a few years out of high school. As she got to work shampooing my hair, she asked several questions and we made small talk. She talked about where she was from and where she had gone to school. She revealed that she had never desired to do the "college thing". Instead, she had known from a very young age that she wanted to cut hair. In fact, she added, that she had wished her parents had let her go to vocational school "because it would have been a lot cheaper!" After graduating, she pursued beauty school and is now in her first full-time job as a stylist. She obviously takes pride in the job that she does, and not only that, I mused as she started her magic shaping and molding on what I consider to be very difficult and substantial head of hair, she is performing a form of art. I had never thought of a "simple haircut" in these terms before, but I quickly realized that it was true. She has a gift, a creative capacity that she exercises it in her field. At the end of our time together she had made me feel transformed. I felt that she felt the joy in my reaction to her work.

I admire people like Michelle who have always instinctively known in which direction they must go. People who don't get bogged down by switching a major, doubting one's intrests or abilities, or just not doing what they know they must because of a lack of courage. I now also know that just because one starts out on a particular career path or life course, that it's not set in stone to stay on that path for 30 or even 15 years. We grow and evolve our talents and find new passions sometimes, which can get really confusing and sticky at those intersections of life. But we are creative beings, and I can see evidence of this just by looking at the women in my own family. I have an 86-year old grandmother who is a master quilter and whose wallhangings and quilts have adorned my childhood bed, dorm room, and now my own home for many years. My mom is a talented and dedicated writer of fiction and devotionals who has followed her particular inner creative compass for years, inspiring me to look inside for my writer's pathway. My sister-in-law makes art out of photography and acting with a purpose and passion that are remarkable.

There is something inside of us that yearns to create and to leave our own, individual fingerprint on our world. When we follow this unique impulse we not only nourish our own souls but we also rouse the artistry in those who come into contact with our calling. Haircutting as a calling? Yes. Courage is the strenth of spirit that guides a person forward in following the singular song, songs, or playlist playing in his or her heart, and then deciding to let others hear the music.

I hope I am brave enough to always point my daughter in the direction of her own heart's rhythm, and therfore be touched and moved by its unique beauty.

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