Bad Day (doing) Hair
I can hear it in your voice on the other end of the line: the pleading, the desperation " you need a haircut or hair color " yesterday. But what about me? If I crowd you into a skinny little time slot and then run a few minutes late, it makes us both miserable. For me, that develops into a bad day doing hair.
I had one not long ago. I must admit there is an eency weency part of me that is hugely proud that I use a computer to schedule my appointments ("Pride cometh before the fall..."). It happens in streaks and I was on a roll. Scheduling crises, that is.
One Monday two people didn't show up. To my great surprise and chagrin, they came on Tuesday, along with another person whose name was on the books for Tuesday. Is there such a thing as a scheduling poltergeist? If so, I think I have one lurking in my computer. So I rode the waves of self inflicted shame and just as I was getting over it, on Friday morning my first client didn't show. Then I remembered she'd cancelled but I'd forgotten to take her off the books. Oh well, so I got up in the miserable cold and dark to get there early for no reason. My next client came and left without knowing my day was about to blow apart.
TWO clients showed up for the 9 a.m. time slot. One was a cut, the other a color and cut. And yes, I remember scheduling the color and cut, but somehow during the past four weeks it disappeared and I refilled the slot. No one wants to leave the hair salon without her hair done! So I told myself, I can handle this, heck, Judith does it hour after hour, day after day, and she's no worse for the wear. I went to my cupboard to formulate the color when the bottle slipped from my hand and flew all over my shelves, the woodwork surrounding it, the door, the floor. I ran over to my station to get some dirty towels to wipe it up pronto, realizing by this time that this probably had not been such a good idea. I am not Judith.
As I turned quickly with a wad of towels toward the closet, my foot got caught on the hair dryer cord. I can still here the slap of my hands hitting the ceramic tiles to catch myself before my knees and face hit. The next instant, you could have heard a towel hit the floor. I tried to act as though I was okay, but with one soft word of concern from Judith, I broke into tears. Pull yourself together, Lisa, I told myself. I went to the closet and began to clean it up. I was acutely aware that even more of my already inadequate time was being wasted.
The shame police roared in! Whistles, sirens, the works, radioing every negative self thought to race to the scene. "You can't do anything right. You are defective. You think you're so smart with that d__n computer, no one else gets their schedules so mixed up." It was at this moment that my haircut-in-waiting came up to me quietly and asked if she could hug me. I said yes. She gently held me and whispered in my ear, "I don't know what is bothering you, but I am in no hurry. Why don't you go around the corner and take five deep breaths. I'm praying for you."
The previous evening I had had a rather heated conversation with one of my children. I spoke my truth, whether right or wrong, which is pretty new for me. I listened to an opposing truth. I went to bed and got up with this emotional upset steeping silently within. I took the breaths and that somehow shooed the shame police away at least temporarily and I continued my work without any more impediments, all except for the adrenal fatigue. My hair cut-in-waiting graduated to haircut and while I cut we talked. She just "happens" to be a Benedictine Sister, and her words were soothing and helpful. She invited me to come as a guest of monastery for an overnight and we set a date.
As it drew closer I was getting nervous, wondering what was expected of me. If I could have gracefully backed out, I most certainly would have. She was waiting patiently for me when I arrived late after a full day of work and showed me my room. I had brought the book, When the Heart Waits, by Sue Monk Kidd, as it was the closest thing to religious I had on hand. I left my long neglected Bible at home. First thing I did after my personal angel-of-mercy left, was take a bath and go to bed. I slept twelve hours! After awakening, I showered, ate, and read. It seemed that book was written just for me! I found a slip of paper under my door, "Call me when you are ready for some company." I wasn't sure I'd ever be ready, but I had to call her, didn't I?
Amazingly, everything she said I had just read in my book. No fancy sermonizing just loving and listening and sharing her truth. I felt touched by the hand of God. Maybe that horrific tumble in the salon was a blessing in disguise. I have made a decision to take better care of myself: physically, emotionally and spiritually. It may mean fewer hours at work, and I might lose some clients because of it, but you know, if I come to work under pressure, my love of what I do will slowly dissolve. If I have no more joy in what I do, I won't do a good job. So, you might have to live with a bad hair day, but hopefully I will have fewer bad days doing hair.