09 April 2012

The perfect job for me

My friend Josie hosts One Question Wednesday every week, and she answered my question (a few weeks ago) with one of her own. I'm posting my answer here. I don't actually remember her exact question, but it was something like this:

How did I decide to become a hairstylist?

I grew up hating my curly hair. I used to think to myself, What did I do to deserve naturally curly hair? From a very young age, I sat on the bathroom counter in front of the mirror and set my hair. I taped my bangs flat to my forehead with pink hair tape. I sat under a bonnet-style dryer till my hair was dry. After all that, I'd still have to sleep with the rollers in. I did this for years and years and years. Summertime was especially hard. I'd pull my hair into a rubber band to give it what I thought was a straight look. I'd set the ponytail with curlers. What I got was a front with deep waves and a sausage-roll back. Not a great look. Sometimes I'd even put the kind of mesh bag that held grapes (back when) over my head and sit under the dryer to try to dry it straight. Did I say I hated my hair? I was a slave to it.

Set hair

Sometime during my senior year of high school I let my hair dry curly for the first time. I can't believe I waited that long. I started wearing my hair curly occasionally, but only with the front held back and the rest flowing down. Because it had no layers, it was just very wavy and big. I continued my hair-setting ways into college. My roommate, Stella, was a fellow curly girl in denial. Hair nights found us isolated and off-limits in our dorm room. Here was our routine: set our hair and put the bonnet of the dryer on. Polish our nails. Go to sleep with the dryer on. At some point during the night we would wake up and turn the dryers off. Our hair would be done and our nails perfect. I can't believe I did that. Here's a college picture of me. Looking at that curly hair now, I wonder why I suffered to make it straight. It looks good to me. Or maybe it's the young version of me that I like :))

I was an art major at school, but really had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I loved art but I wasn't good enough to be an artist, and I didn't want to be a teacher. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. After almost 3 years, my parents let me quit. One day, shortly after, I was having lunch with a friend who always had very short and stylish hair. Somehow, (after a drink or two) she convinced me to get my long hair cut into a style. We drove to my house and she told my mother, who said, get on the phone and make an appointment right now! That same afternoon, I was in her hairdresser's chair. The stylists gathered around, exclaiming about my thick and curly hair. In my whole life, no one had ever told me I had nice hair. The stylist cut my hair in such a way that it dried in a perfect style. I thought to myself, "I think I could do that. It's like sculpture on the head."

That haircut changed my life, and rest is history. I've been a hairstylist for 34 years and it's been the perfect job for me.


Leann said...

Did you ever go back to that stylist and tell her this story? I'll bet it would make her life. :-)

Anonymous said...

Funny you never liked your hair but became a hair stylist after all. And I can't believe no one had ever told you you had nice hair. I'd kill for curly hair.

Anyway, glad all that worked out well!

KathyA said...

Yes, it IS the perfect job for you. You are really, really good at it!!

Josie Two Shoes said...

An awesome story, well worth waiting for! It is funny that girls with curly hair dream of straight, and people like my daughter with fine stick-straight hair wish they had some curl! How well I remember those young years of giant curlers, sitting under hooded hairdryers, and eventually letting it fly free... which is exactly what I do now! If I lived there I'd let you work some magic, but John loves it long, and so do I, so long it shall stay! I think it's wonderful that you weren't forced into taking on a career that didn't suit you, and ended up doing something that you are great and and makes you happy. Not everyone, can say that, maybe not even most people. I think you are truly blessed, and I'm betting your clients adore you! Thank you so much for your answer. Are you up for another round this week?? :-))

happyone said...

You and curly hair just go together. It is just so you!! : ) I'm soooo happy that you are my hairdresser. Thank you!!!

Lena said...

I wished I lived closer so you could be my hair dresser, too!

I love your curly hair.

Mine is kinda in-between, not really curly, but not straight either. I spent time with the big rollers and also ironing my hair to make it straight. Ironing made it straight with no body.

What a great story and like Josie said, it is great to have a career that you enjoy so much!

Josie Two Shoes said...

Hi Cheryl! Here's your new OQW question... As one who struggled with my role in my family, what were your relationships with your siblings and parents like when you were growing up, and how are those relationships now?

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