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She was a 65-year-old client that sat in my chair. To put it plainly... this woman sat down, looked at me with her fierce blue-crystal eyes, and said, "I need something different. Do whatever you want, just make me feel younger."
If you're a fellow stylist, you can imagine how exciting this was. I was free to create. This woman was putting her trust in me to execute a haircut and color that I—and I alone—felt would work for her. Naturally, I had to ask.
"Are you open to vivid colors?"
"You do whatever you want," she repeated with a fearless smile.
Throughout the appointment, we discussed much about life. Where we both had come from; the ways life and all of its twists and turns had molded us into the women we were. Family and love. Until now I had yet to feel such life, such vibrancy come from a stranger sitting in my chair. At this point, before even graduating from school, I'd taken clients all the way from toddler years to ninety. Among them all, this woman exuded the most youthful energy. Hearing about her experiences throughout her life and her ever-growing hunger for more left me feeling energized and enthused.
The thought as a whole struck a chord within me I hadn't really known was there to begin with. It came with my client mentioning her predicted and somewhat dreaded reaction that would come from her family after showing up with bright red hair, "At her age."
I couldn't help but think "Since when does age become a factor in doing or not doing what makes us feel beautiful?"
Society's impact on us as a people is astounding when you actually take the time to ponder it. I read that a staggeringly low 4% of women worldwide openly describe themselves as "beautiful." How much of this utter lack of worldwide self-love would you assume has to do with the absolutely unrealistic expectations cast on us from the dark cloud that is "media"?
Gwen Bartholomew, founder of the organization Grandma's Angels and advocate for all human rights, responded beautifully to my question as to what advice she would give someone struggling to be their true selves at any point in their lives.
"F**k what anyone else thinks," she answered promptly. "You only live life once and you should live your life without worrying about what others think. If they don't like my purple hair or what I'm wearing, that's their problem." Gwen went on to say she feels as though living in Louisiana throughout much of her life, with festivities like Mardi Gras and with a common acceptance of "different", contributed heavily to her care-free and "I am who I am" lifestyle.
Sam VanBibber, former owner and now manager at Wear it Again Sam responded similarly, with her own empowering twist."I set examples, not on purpose and not to impress," she stated, "I just impress myself."
Sam also is a woman who has always and will always remain unfazed by the opinions of anyone around her due to her upbringing, taste, and career path.
Women like Gwen and Sam set examples that may be overlooked by some but should be heavily considered by all. These are individuals who have lived life with many trials and tribulations; yet still with freedom. Freedom from the mental prison that forms within most of us at some point under the judgmental shadow of society. From clothing to hairstyles, attitudes and accomplishments, they seem to have mastered the very real and incredibly challenging art of saying, "F**K it."
Before you allow any negative comments to flow from within your own thoughts out into the world, where it can seriously affect others, think. Are you about to be the cause of someone's insecurity for the day? Is what you're about to vocalize deriving from genuine feeling, or actually just a puddle of jealousy located somewhere in the depths of your ego?
My client walked out of the building with a smile as bright as a Texas summer day. After little experience with bright colors or bold cuts, her demeanor as a whole had transformed in less than two hours. After saying our goodbyes and thanking her for her time, I had one final thought walking back to my station.
I can't wait to keep getting more fabulous with each year.