I’ve always been a fan of a good haircut. It’s the reason I faithfully returned to the same stylists for nearly 10 years. My favorite part of the process has always, and most likely will always be, the scalp massage. My 7 minutes in heaven. It’s one of the fastest parts of the experience but the most luxurious. In the past those few minutes have been pure bliss. The hairdresser’s nails gently scratching my scalp in rhythmic circles. The 30 seconds temple massage that makes my eyes roll to the back of my head. If I were a dog my tongue would be hanging out of my mouth at this point in pure bliss.
A haircut is a wonderful yet sensitive process. For me, my hair and getting my hair cut has been something that I treat delicately. It’s symbolic. At 13 a good haircut symbolized the confidence I wished to possess. At 16 the confidence I thought I possessed. At 20 a symbol of self care. This last haircut… well I am still searching for the words to describe it’s significance.
Everything about this haircut felt different. First of all I was in London. Surprise! Next, I found myself in the hands of a complete stranger. In the past I have always gone to Erin or someone that has come highly recommended by a friend. O and I was a hair model. No this doesn’t mean that I have become a model overnight (it’s a nice fantasy but sorry friends, no). All this means is that the hairdresser was a trainee and I… well I was a guinea pig of sorts. So this experience was bound to be/feel different.
It started when I put on the hair gown? Is that what you call it? A smock? Anyways. It was in that moment that it hit me that I was going to trust this sensitive part of myself with a stranger. Literally someone that I met the night before when I strolled into the salon. I needed to exercise acceptance. I know this sounds a bit dramatic. ‘Come on Paige it’s just a hair cut’. But honestly I have come to realize that my hair is often a symbol for much more; my current mood, my current dilemma, my emotional state, my stress/anxiety level, my sassiness.
As we walked back to the sinks I could feel a mixture of hesitation and excitement. But mostly excitement because I knew what was to come… the head massage! I experienced all the wonderful feelings I described before. The euphoric temple massage. The blissful sensation of nails scratching my scalp. But this time I experienced a new sensation that I hadn’t realized I had been missing. Human touch. This is something that has been missing in my life. In Chicago and California I have always had people to hug, to hold, to snuggle, to shake with. But in Guatemala… well I am still making those connections. This is not to say that I do not have amazing people in my life in Xela. I do. And I am so appreciative of those relationships. But I am still developing connections with this level of intimacy. I am still developing those friendships/relationships where you hug someone for a really long time. Like awkwardly long hugs that warm your heart. Needless to say I realized in this moment how much I have missed human touch. I felt cared for in that moment.
The next ‘big’ moment of the haircut came when she was actually doing the cutting. I always watch my hairdressers work their magic. It fascinates me. This stylist cut my hair with meticulous detail. Silent. Focused. Engrossed. I tried talking with her and quickly found that to be a mistake. She was focused on my hair and I on her. But my focus shifts. I make the connection that the hair she is cutting is mine. I begin to feel a sense of freedom in this. My eyes begin to water. What the hell is happening? I have cried in the past because of a bad haircuts but never as the stylist was cutting my hair. I began to reflect on the things I wanted to cut away. The things that were holding me back. I could feel her literally and figuratively cut away the parts of me that I wanted to release myself of. I dedicated that moment to cutting away anxieties, fears and past hurts. I dedicated that moment to passionately moving forward.
As I walked out of the salon I think of Maggie Rogers’ Alaska
‘Cut my hair so I could rock back and forth
Without thinking of you
Learned to talk and say
Whatever I wanted to
And I walked off you
And I walked off an old me’
And now. Well I am taking myself and my new hair back to Guatemala free of dead weight.
Here are some extra goodies- a few pictures from my London/Amsterdam trip: