Far too long

9 days. Whoops, but not whoops. I spent last week nerding out a little and spending more time with Hailie. We watched the Jurassic Park trilogy every night, and then splurged on an actual date night to the first showing of Jurassic World. We just needed to get out of the apartment and take a break for ourselves.

Last week was pretty packed outside of the little bit of us time. I had a gigantic chapter and a daunting test (that I got an 81% on) that consumed me from Wednesday all the way up until breakfast 45 minutes before the test itself on Friday.

And then came Saturday, the day with 4 scheduled cuts. This will be nothing in the real world, but right now holy hell that's a bit more than I'm used to.

Cut 1 - I'm told he is a guy that I cut a few weeks ago. I was thinking back in my head and realized that it could only possibly be one person, which was the dean's neighbor. I was interested in having a return guest to see how the grow out was and that I'd be able to actually ask someone how they liked it the next day. It's a catch-22 though, because the only time that I can get feedback is if they come back to me, but if I give a poor cut I give no incentive to come back. That much more motivation to get it right the first time.

But I go to the front and meet him, and this is someone I have never met. Turns out that he was noted down as a repeat guest, and the barber that he was going back to had since left the school. But this was just as fine, I wasn't nervous with the idea of a repeat guest, so now I didn't even have time to get nervous before he was in my chair. So I go through his cut and ask Charles what he thinks at the end.

Charles has this way about him. He has the most courteous bedside manner you could ask for from an instructor of creativity. He never says you're doing wrong, but he sees the same mistakes time and time again, so he knows when they are about to happen. Rather than letting it happen, he'll say something like "Want me to show you a neat trick?" which is typically code for "you're about to screw up huge" and then he takes over, points out what I  was about to do, and shows me the proper way of doing it. So it's very hands on learning. But this time he used another trick on teaching me a lesson. "Oh, it doesn't matter what I think, it just matters if they like it."

"It's crooked." It absolutely was. I didn't realize I had overlooked something because I was so focused on the parts of the haircut that were comfortable to me, and trying to incorporate conversation in. That's going to start becoming a little more natural over time, but I swear it's like the first time you tried to type and talk at the same time. The one always interrupts the other. So I corrected it, and I walked him up to the front. Bill was already waiting.

Cut 2 - Bill has been a friend of Charles for years, and comes in every week to get the students more practice time. It works out for everybody. Bill is a volunteer firefighter, children's mentor, former army guy who is just shining ear to ear with positive thoughts. He's very straight forward with the way he talks, and if you're doing something wrong he tells you immediately. Bill was also the first non-friend/family member that I cut. This was nice though, I had someone who had seen me progress over 3 weeks, and proactively gives feedback.

Mostly positive, and some constructive. I made an immediate change and asked if it was better. It was. This isn't easy, but this is starting to come together more and more and more and more.

Cut 3 - Somebody decided to get all sorts of not well last week, so we canceled her haircut. Well now it was time. 4 hours of standing on my feet, no lunch, and my 3rd back to back appointment with another after. I'm in the zone. I'm cutting Hailie's hair. Charles brings in a feather razor for me to use because I told him I wanted to learn razor cuts. Let me be clear at the beginning of this, that he had clearly emphasized the fact that it was a new blade, and just how sharp these particular blades were. So he then tells me to put the hair on my finger, put the razor over the hair, pull down, and prepare to be amazed. Finger. Hair. Razor. Pull. Mind blown. It texturized and cleaned up the ends of her hair with about as much effort as putting a pop-tart in the toaster.

We weren't trying to do anything drastic, just clean up the edges and add a few layers because it had been a while since she had cut her hair. She shaved it for St. Baldricks a few years ago with me, but has been growing it out ever since. This early on I didn't want to try and do anything drastic anyways, Let me get good before I risk months of growth.

But then Hailie learned how sharp that razor was. While I was combing out a section of her hair, I pivoted my torso ever so incorrectly and ***SLICE*** the razor in my right hand barely taps her hairline and about 8 hairs all clump together on the guard. My eyes get huge and as I'm immediately thinking of five different ways to tell her, I hear her say "I saw what you just did." My face went white. And then she started laughing. It was a near disaster, but it literally was eight hairs, and it was in the area that was coming off with layers anyways. But holy crap different level of respect to how sharp that tool is.

Cut 4 - My step-mom had sent me a picture earlier in the week of a hairstyle with the question "Can you do this? Wanna try?". Can I do this? I don't know, but I reply with "I won't learn unless I try" so we set the appointment for later in the day on Saturday because I wanted to challenge myself with 4 cuts.

And at this point in the day, I felt like I was still in the zone. It's 5 hours in without any breaks but I felt like I had just gotten there 30 minutes ago.

She was a lot happier than I was with the cut. As soon as they left I was thinking of how I could make the cut better, and I have an idea for the next time we clean it up to maintain the length.

I don't want this to come across as "I gave her a crap haircut" because that isn't the case. I'm actually stoked with how it turned out. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn't embrace creativity. Instead I replicated what someone else had already done.

The more I get lost in this, the more clear the pictures become in my head.

So fast forward to today's specialty class with a guest artist. The woman providing the class was Debra Dietrich. She has been in the industry for 38 years, and works in film hair and makeup, most notably as the key hair stylist for the movie Milk. She was a barber, hair stylist, make up artist, and just in general a well-storied woman. I was expecting an hour and a half of advanced techniques that would be more useful for styling women's hair, but instead there was about 3 hours of stories from someone who was in a place that I want to be. And a big lesson that I need to stop trying to be 100 different versions of myself, and start being just myself.

I came to the realization tonight that I know I am going to do great things. 

Chris BentleyComment