What I Would Have Said

I am painfully shy.  I don’t particularly like talking to strangers, and I can’t bring myself to speak publicly . . . unless it’s absolutely mandatory (work, school, etc.).  I would have liked to have spoken at Aunt Shirley’s funeral on Friday.  In fact, just about every muscle in my body was twitching, and my brain / inner dialogue was screaming at me to get up there and speak because I have so many wonderful things to say, but I just couldn’t.


About my propensity to be shy . . . I feel like we live in a world today where a shy person is treated as though they are defective. Aunt Shirley never made me faulty.  I never even had to tell her that I was shy. I didn’t know it then, as a child, because we view the world differently then than when we are grown, but I see it now, in hindsight – Aunt Shirley just accepted me for who I was, no questions asked. She had this innate understanding that I was just a shy kid, and it was OKay, and she didn’t push me to be anything other.

As a tot, I always looked so forward to going to the Litchfield Fair with Aunt Shirley and Uncle Norman each year. I was far too shy to order food for myself or speak up if I wanted some bobble. I’d tell Aunt Shirley what I wanted, and she’d order for me. She didn’t tell me to tell the person working at the counter; she spoke for me when I couldn’t vocalize my wants.  I didn’t have to ask Auntie for her help; she instinctively knew when I needed to borrow her voice.

There are two times I remember Aunt Shirley being mad. First, when I was given the raw burger at the fair.  (Even if I had wanted to speak up for myself in that scenario, she was already “on it.”).  The other time . . . Uncle Normal knocked her over in the swimming pool during a vacation in Vermont. There’s a third time she was mad, and it’s the only time I’m aware of that she was mad AT me, and that was when I ran off and got lost at the beach. I’ve always relied on “I was too young to remember” as reasoning for not remembering, but years of study in psychology has lead me to believe that I’ve just repressed it. With the exception of the pool fiasco, I think that even Aunt Shirley’s anger stemmed from love.

Aunt Shirley taught me many things I use today. I was pretty resistant to learn anything useful like canning and sewing or anything cooking and / or baking related.  In fact, Aunt Shirley and Uncle Norman have always been my champions when there’s been joking about my not cooking. “She’ll get it! She’ll do it!”

Aunt Shirley gave me a love for jigsaw puzzles that may be unmatched. I won’t settle for less than 1,000 – 2,000 pieces. She taught me to construct the frame first. I can hear her voice whenever I am sifting through (literally) thousands of pieces to find the edges, uring me to assemble the border. She taught me latch-hook, which I still enjoy to this day.  Like many, I’ve always admired her ability to cross stitch perfectly; I’ve always been in awe of how it is virtually impossible to differentiate the back from the front. I recently started cross stitching, and I was so convinced that I must be doing something wrong because the back is such a mess, that I asked a fellow cross stitcher to send me a picture of the back of one of their projects.  As I suspected, Aunt Shirley’s work is just . . . flawlessly epic.

Aunt Shirley and Uncle Norman have been present at all of the big events: graduations, weddings, showers, holiday gatherings – but also the little things too: softball games, school award ceremonies, BBQs, and moving days.  I suspect that we all have a memory of looking out in the crowd and seeing Aunt Shirley there.  I also postulate that we have all learned something from her that will live on, in each of us, for (our) forever.

After family gatherings and holiday meals, I always offer to wash the dishes.  There has never once been an instance, when someone who knows Shirley Maxwell, has not commented, “You wash dishes just like your Aunt Shirley!” Washing dishes will never again feel like a chore to me.


^What I would have said^

You Trim Hair Like a Badass, but Your Personality Doesn’t Make the Cut

IMO, it is important to find oneself a good hairdresser or barber.  I am poor at finding time for myself, in regards to pampering.  Set me up in a room with craft supplies and a list of people to please, and I will devote every last nanosecond of free time I have . . . to / for others.  For myself?  Eh, not so much.  I recently committed to getting my nails manicured consistently, and though I have stuck to this regimen and have begun to enjoy nicely painted nails, I am constantly fighting the urge to flee from this routine.  It has been a month and a half, which means I have gone three times.  I always find an excuse not to follow through for myself: time, money, scheduling, etc.  It’s only a matter of time.

I have naturally curly hair.  It has been surprisingly difficult to find someone who can cut curly hair well.  After a run on terrible hair experiences, and I do mean abhorrent, I finally found a woman who can cut my tangled mass of coiled tresses like a badass.  In my imaginative fantasyland, I ideally sport long and flowing mermaid length hair, resting luxuriously atop my shoulders and cascading beautifully down my back.  The harsh reality is, this look just does not work for me.  As lovingly stated by my Mum, “It’s not your hair that’s the problem.  It’s your face.”  That, my virtual friends, was one of those phrases that just “did not come out right,” but I knew full well what she meant.  Long hair does not suit me, mainly due to the shape of my face, which I don’t even know how to describe.  I find that long hair, even shoulder length, makes me look tired, borderline haggard.  So, I have accepted a chin length, asymmetrical cut as my trademark hairstyle.  If I do say so myself, it is pretty adorable, and I just look . . . like Amy.  With that being said, as much as I am thrilled to have an undeviating hairstyle and a favorable haircut, it may be time for me to break up with my salon artist.

Over the course of two or three years, I have fought against my unwillingness to spend my money and time on myself, and I have gotten a trim and touch up approximately every eight weeks.  However, I find myself growing ever more uncomfortable with my hairdresser.  I do not doubt that she is a delight amongst her family and friends, but I find that I tend to leave her shop feeling worse about myself instead of better.  I also suspect that perhaps she is slightly vindictive.

About the latter . . . 

Here’s a recap of my September – November 2016:

  • Faint
  • Fall into the shower
  • Hit my head
  • OUCH
  • Concussion
  • Months of recovery
  • To this day, problems with memory

I am one of the quite fortunate and lucky ones who has faced a head injury head on (see what I did there, huh, huh, huh?) and returned to normal (OKay, so MY version of normalcy) relatively expediently and to about 98% – 99%.  However, over a year later, I still have some difficulty with my memory and the occasional bout of brain fog.  When my injury was raw and I was not permitted to drive, work, or even run, I missed a haircut appointment.  I completely forgot about it.  (Mind you, I never received a courtesy reminder call – more on this later.).  So, the following are reasons I assume she is vindictive:

  1. She rescheduled me for a bright and early Saturday morning, which was the very next day.  When I arrived for my new appointment, she told me that she was booked, that my appointment was for another day.  I had gotten up at 0600 to be there on time, merely to be turned away, and since that was indeed my appointment, I had to yet again reschedule.
  2. For another appointment, I was penciled in for a color, and she sent me on my way after the cut.  Mind you, most people would have spoken up, but that’s already not in my nature . . . and I’m typically willing to get out of there ASAP.
  3. My trim has seemingly, and without warning, skyrocketed in cost from approximately $20.00 to $35.00.
  4. Let us not forget the time that her sister, employed as the shop manager and personal assistant to the beautician, called me to indicate I had missed “ANOTHER!!” appointment, when it was the beautician herself who had requested to reschedule due to a scheduling conflict.  I could hear her spouting off in the background, and it wasn’t what I would consider professional or kind, even though this blunder was definitely her error.

Here’s the “more on this later” from above. . . So, it is unreasonable to call me the day before to remind me of an appointment, but it is perfectly acceptable to call and harass me at what is perceived to be my faux pas?

Needless to say, after months (over a year’s worth of months, in fact) of what can be described only as passive aggressive behavior, I was already prepared to make last night’s appointment my final visit.

About the former . . . 

Why / how does my hairdresser make me feel uncomfortable?

  1. Being aware of the fact that I am a runner and have lost weight due to my running, she has referred to me as a “bigger girl,” and has even gone on to say that being a bigger girl is OKay because I have a heart of gold.  Before I lost weight, yeah, I could afford to lose a few pounds, but she didn’t even know me then.  Why would she even feel the need to discuss my size with me or with anyone else for that matter?
  2. She shares stories that are far too personal.  We are not friends.  I do not need to, nor do I want to, know the inner workings, or lack thereof, of previous marriages, current relationships, and perhaps, future rendezvous.
  3. Last night, she told another woman, a perfect stranger to me, that my Mum and Dad “spoil [me] BAD.”  What is this tidbit based on?  Am I an only child?  Yes.  Am I spoiled?  In some regards, absolutely.  However, that is not her business nor is it the business of strangers.  FYI, I just so happen to work my ass off, and I have worked for and fairly earned everything I have accomplished, own, etc.
  4. She regularly finds a way to ding my self esteem. It could be a simple inquiry: “Have you gained weight?”  (Even if I had, have, or do . . . why ask?).  The ding can also come in the form of a statement, “You have grey hairs.”  (Perhaps they are a result of the mere stress of looking ahead to my hair appointments . . . ).

My beautician cuts hair like a badass, but her personality suckity sucks. 

Last night, I politely declined to book a future appointment.  The woman who colored my hair before my NYC trip was delightful, and I would like to sample her cutting skills.  If she too is a badass with unruly curls, I may have found myself a new go-to.

Backstory: I sought another colorist because the woman I’ve been blogging about made it fairly obvious that she did not want to lay lavender highlights in my hair.  However, she had the gaul to portray herself as hurt and offended when my hair was indisputably recently colored but another.  In hindsight, perhaps it was my recent stint with another’s chroma that triggered the comment about the importance of highlighting my hair due to the greys I have sprouting.  Now I don’t know whether this example more appropriately belongs in the vindictive section or should remain in the why I’m uncomfortable segment.  But I digress . . .

So, what is the point of this wordy diatribe triggered by follicle folly?  I wish I could say / write that the point is to assert that I am unaffected by others’ perception(s), but it’s not.  The point is to express that yes, I am indeed insulted, and yes, her words have stung me on multiple occasions, but it remains well within my power to control just how much damage she can cause my self-esteem and psyche.  I have shared my displeasure as a means of letting it go.  Afterall, who exactly is she to me?  She is nobody.  She’s merely a woman who provides a service.  I am not obligated to continue to see her, she is not connected to me via bloodline or hanging from the same branch on a family tree, she is merely a blip on the roadmap of my life.  It was several years ago that I began to eliminate blips that had the potential to become potholes along the road to my own happiness.

In summary, I am done shelling out $40.00+ for snide remarks, rude commentary, and unprofessionalism.  So, I have a few grey hairs.  I can guarantee, despite the belief that I am spoiled rotten, that I have earned every one of those greys fair and square.

P.S.  If you benefit in no way from this smörgåsbord of verbiage, I hope there is at least one takeaway: be kind – to others and to yourself.