Let’s Work it Out Together

Recently, my long time, beloved hair stylist informed her clients that she needed to step back from doing her hands-on hair magic to focus more on other aspects of running her salon. 

If you’ve ever been with one hair stylist or barber for many years, a statement like that can stop you in your tracks.  A great stylist gets to know your likes and dislikes, your cowlicks, what best frames your face, your (in)tolerance for daily hair-fussing, etc. You tell each other stories about your relationships, your work, your children, and your health. Over the years, a lot gets shared while sitting in that chair.

No matter how complex your hair (or chair therapy) needs are… having to switch can make you feel very vulnerable. It can take time to find a stylist that gets it “just right”, as Goldie Locks puts it.

Anyone who knows me knows I like to keep things simple; wash and wear hair, comfortable shoes, little to no makeup, and the like.  But when my very curly, double-cowlicked, fuss-averse head of hair and I learned of this change, my first thought was…  OH CRAP! NOW WHAT? 

She and I were long past the trial-and-error phase. We didn’t need to discuss adjustments each time. “Just a trim will do”, and we’d pick up where our conversation left off last time. We were good.

And while I was super happy that she was making the best decision for herself (I know it wasn’t an easy one to make), I was also very sad, and dreaded having to start over with someone new.

So, I realized I had a choice.

I could grasp hard onto that feeling of dread and wanting to control the situation.  I could get overly stressed about how to choose a new stylist, come up with a list of dos and don’ts and specific pointers, take pictures, and make it the time-consuming, worrisome event that it didn’t need to be. 

Or I could simply choose to let go.  Because… wait for it… it’s JUST HAIR.  It’s just hair and it will grow back.  What’s the worst thing that could happen? I might need to wear a scarf for a few weeks. Bonus, that would be even simpler! Come to think of it, I had to do that in third grade once when Mom gave my sister and I home-perms. I remember only showing my closest friends, and ONLY while we were together inside the bathroom stall. We survived.

But I digress.

So that’s what I did.  I sat down in the chair of the stylist I was referred to and just let go. I answered a couple questions she had before getting started and unexpectedly ended with… “We’ll figure it out together.”

Why do I tell this seemingly benign story? 

Because when those words came out of my mouth, I actually felt a physical releasing of the desire to hold onto control of the situation. I surprised myself with how freeing it was to let go and invite her into a co-creative space with me. I’m sure she wasn’t even aware of my flash-revelation, but I like to think it took some pressure off of her too. There we were, and my hair cut turned out great!

After that, I began thinking about all the ways we try to hold onto singular control when it isn’t necessary, and the toll it takes when we do. The times it simply doesn’t serve us to try to orchestrate, or navigate, or project our own rigid ideas upon a situation. Most especially when we’re collaborating or in relationship with another.

What if we could catch ourselves, even in those times of vulnerability when attempting to hold onto control feels like the only way to survive?  What if we could let it fall away, releasing into and trusting the unknown?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself in those moments to slow things down and check in:

  • Am I feeling exposed, vulnerable, unsure about what’s next?
  • Am I trying too hard to control an outcome or how things will play out?
  • Am I taking it all upon myself when there are others to co-create with?
  • Does this REALLY matter (or is it just a haircut that will grow back in a few weeks)?
  • What’s the worst that could happen if I just let go?
  • Is it worth the stress, the time, the effort, the relationship, the thing that’s being sacrificed?

Please share your thoughts. What do you want to let go of?

Hair in Harmony is one of the only salons in the Boston Metro West area that is Green Circle Salons Certified. They’ve just opened their gorgeous, new, eco-centric location in Maynard, MA. If you’re in the area say hello and tell them I sent you!