11 January 2010

How I became a hairdresser, probably part 1

I never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was always a good girl. Well, mostly good. There was the summer I got drunk every day, but no one but me and my best friend knew about it and it ended along with the summer. Luckily for me. Not so much for my best friend who dropped me like a hot potato and went on to ruin her high school career with drinking and heavy drugs. I went to college because my parents made me. I was an art major because it was what I liked best. I didn't want to be an art teacher and I wasn't good enough to be an artist. I went to Towson, a liberal arts college and got good grades in every course I took. I just didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, and eventually I became consumed with my lack of direction and the weight of it on my shoulders. After 2 1/2 years my parents realized how unhappy I was and let me quit. I've never regretted it. Fortunately, and you'll see where this is leading in a second, it was my naturally curly hair (OK, I could have just said curly, but we curly girls tend to include the 'naturally' thing; it goes hand in hand). I grew up hating my hair. Curly hair was not in style. You couldn't comb it. Your friends didn't play with it. Like I said in my previous post, I felt like I didn't deserve it. I don't remember what age I was when I started setting my hair in rollers, but I was pretty young. I used to sit on the counter in the hall bathroom and set it every time it was washed. I used some kind of pink tape that was made for bangs and taped them down on my forehead so they'd be straight. I was always envious of my sister Ilene because she could set her hair in front of the TV with no mirror. I'd have to stay under the hairdryer forever till my hair dried, then I'd have to sleep on the rollers. How I did that, I'll never know. It wasn't till I was in high school that I first let my hair dry on it's own. I'd really never done that. I was shocked at what I saw. It was around then that I started letting it dry curly. I'd wear a bandana like a kerchief (tied underneath in the back of my neck) to pull my hair straight back from my forehead, and have the rest flowing down my back. That was back when I wore overalls and construction boots. Oh, yes I did. I wrote poetry and wrote in journals and thought deep thoughts. But I regress.
Me and my college friend Mark

Even though I wore my hair curly, I wasn't entirely done with setting my hair. I still felt I looked my best with it straight. What we curly girls called straight, anyway. My college roommate (and friend from home) set her hair too. I learned a few tricks from her. The nights we set our hair had us isolated from the fun our dorm mates were having. First we'd set our hair and put the soft dryer bonnets on. Then we'd paint our nails. Then we'd turn on the dryers and go to sleep. I'd wake up in the middle of the night and turn off the dryer, keeping the rollers in. When I'd wake up in the morning my hair would be dry and my nails would be done. What a pain it all was. I had a good friend Lisa who always had very short, very stylish hair. One day we were out and had a drink or two and she somehow convinced me I should get my hair styled. I finally agreed. We went to my house and Lisa told my mother I was getting my hair cut. My mom said to call right then and make an appointment before I changed my mind. Lisa's stylist had a cancellation so off we went. I couldn't believe I was actually going to get my hair cut in a real style. The hairdressers went crazy over my hair. They were touching it and exclaiming how thick and beautiful it was. No one in my entire life had ever told me they liked my hair. I thought of it as a curse. Well, I had it cut to dry naturally, and that was that. People loved my hair. It was then that I thought, this is like doing sculpture on the head. I thought it was something I could do. And that's how I decided to become a hairdresser. The end.


Becca said...

What a great story, Cheryl!! I for one have seen your work and can definitely say that you chose the right career!!

Jamie said...

I loved this..."sculpture on the head". Awesome. Once again, I have to say, I wish you were near by so that you could take care of my awful hair.

You and Janelle sound so much alike - and where she got her curls, I have no idea.

I will be sending you a quick email --- and hugs. :)

happyone said...

A great story Cheryl and I am happy to say that I'm one of the lucky ones that live near you and have you as my hair dresser.
Thanks for doing such a great job on my hair.
I would never have thought that picture was of you!

KathyA said...

THAT'S YOU IN THAT PICTURE!??? I thought it was a model-type cameo thing!!! Wow, Girl!

Forsythia said...

In my next life, I want hair like yours. So does my sister.

Aaron said...

That's really cool Aunt Cheryl...I've never heard any of this before. I can't believe how much Sarah looks like you in this picture!

Brad said...

I'm glad you weren't one of those mean girls who walked around the halls at school with a hot curling iron! Those girls were dangerous. I love your curly hair. It's my goal to come play with it this year!

Leann said...

Very kewl. It is always interesting knowing people's 'story'. How they get to be there person they are.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Please, please move to Southside Virginia! I have naturally curly hair and have never found a stylist who could give me a cut that didn't require hours of work. Would love to have a cut that I could let dry naturally!

Lena said...

Great story,Cheryl!

I love your naturally curly hair.

I also love that photo of you. I wondered who that was!

When I was in high school my hair was long and kind of frizzy in the summer, straighter in the winter. I always wanted poker straight hair because it made my hair longer. My sisters and I used to iron our hair and boy did it get straight!

I also used to sleep with the big rollers in my hair. When I was feeling lazy, I would put my hair in a pony tail on the top of my head and put one big roller.

I think because of your post on coloring Happy Ones hair back, I had a dream last night that I went to the hairdresser and had my hair dyed from silver back to my dark brown natural color. Hmmmm, maybe I want to dye my hair more than I realize.

CRUSTY MOM-E said...

I LOVE THIS!! (and your picture too!! You remind me of Emily almost down to the tee! What a beautiful silent picture)

Great story and it was awesome learning more about your "artistic wild" side. :)

:) miss u too.

beachgirl said...

What a great story about finding out what you love doing. I love the long hair.
I have had straight hair and remember sleeping in rollers to get some curl in. Braiding my hair in a million little braids so my hair would be wavy. Now and most of my life I let it dry naturally . I go years before I use a blow drier. My hair dresser Paula uses one on me.
I love photography. But didn't find out how much until I was in my 40's.

Summer said...

You are an artist and an excellent one at that. It makes me happy to read about your job and how much you enjoy it. You are a fortunate one.

Cheryl said...

I am a fortunate one, and I'm truly thankful. I never thought I'd find the job for me, and I found the perfect one.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

This was a great and interesting story. I love how people find their paths.

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