I have been creating hairstyles since I was 6 years old. My cousins and I used to have contests between us to see who was the better braider. We would grab our various dolls and barbies and attack them furiously trying to create the best braid or ponytail. We learned from our mothers the art of flat braiding or cornrowing, an ancient hair styling technique that black mothers and daughters have passed down to each other for an milennia. Some of us were better at it than others. It was just what we did.
I used to love these times with my mother, aunties and cousins. I loved the togetherness of the moment and the struggle of getting the hand fingering just right. I loved when my mother stood over me patiently and showed me the technique again for the thousandth time knowing that I would probably come back to her 5 minutes later with a tangled mess of synthetic hair for my efforts. They rarely sent us on our way, rather they simply would help us untangle it and start again. They understood the effort that went into the braiding techniques that they effortlessly put into creating our hairstyles weekly or daily. It was a lesson- but also a labour of love.
We would all giggle and laugh even if we were being gently chastised for our braiding abilitities, or lack of. These times we truly spent in the moment.
As I entered into the world of hairstyling, a secondary career, I realized how very similar my time with each client is with those early lessons of braiding with my family. Most of the work that I specialize in is very time intensive. I spend many hours creating intmate creations that reflect the very best of whoever is in my chair.I spend a TON of time with each one of them, and I get to know my clients very well.
They tell me things. There is something about sitting in my chair or at my feet in a comfy jelly bean cushion that helps relax my clients into a sense where they can relinquish their soul. I am always humbled to be in the position to listen, and everyone of my clients who enrich my world by sharing their experiences. I learn so much about who they are-but mostly I learn a ton about who I am. I have recognized no one comes into our reality by accident.