The Blog

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, Especially When It's Your Hairdresser

Whether it's your hair, your teeth, your skin or your heart, you deserve to say what's true for you and to walk out the door if you need to.
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There it was again. The sizzling pit in my stomach as I drove to my appointment. No chance of getting out of it either, not with that inch of grey hair popping out of the top of my head like a fuzzy chipmunk.

Once again I found myself wishing I had the guts to try someone new but the idea of starting over made me want to go lie down. I sat in my car in the parking lot for a very long while.

It wasn't that my stylist was a bad person. I just dreaded that same convoluted and aggravating conversation that we ALWAYS have about the color red.

Every 6 weeks I go in with the best of intentions, to clearly speak my truth, to say exactly what I want but somehow I always end up walking out the door looking more like what she wanted than what I wanted.


My idea of "no red" is not her idea of "no red." "Red is red." I thought. "How hard can it be?"

Martha Beck says, "The way we do one thing is the way we do everything," and in this case it was horribly true. How many times had I repeatedly, instantly, and automatically assumed I was doing something wrong when I wasn't.

In this case I kept thinking It was me that wasn't being clear enough, that it was somehow my fault I had chopped up red hair.

The truth was, although we had a good run, our relationship was over. We no longer saw eye to eye or in this case, highlight to highlight.

My last appointment began the same but ended much differently.

As I slowly slunk into the blue vinyl chair she demanded "What exactly looks red to you?" and adding "You're just like my mother" (a very bad sign). With a sigh, I picked up a chunk of my hair and gently started to explain when I felt my eyes filling with those hot anger-tears and I stopped in mid sentence.

Out of my truth-telling mouth finally came: "You know what? I am sooooo tired of arguing with you about the color red." And then I stood up and walked out the door.

And then I drove to Whole Foods to get some hair dye.

And it was all okay. Not all relationships are meant to last forever. Thank God. Otherwise I would have a very strange husband instead of my amazing one.

Now I can happily say with just a little research I have a new wonderful stylist I trust. She is kind, creative, listens to me, and we agree on the color red.

So I am wondering, how often do you discount what you want and acquiesce to "keep the peace"? How often do you ignore that feeling in your stomach or the throbbing in your head that says "Run for the hills!"? How often do you put up or shut up?

This hair thing reminded me how important it is to listen to our own intuition on when to cut and run.

It reminded me of a doctor's visit I had a couple of years ago where I complained of constant headaches. He patted me on the knee and told me that I just needed to smile more. Luckily my anger drove me to a second opinion where they found I had a gigantic brain tumor.

Whether it's your hair, your teeth, your skin or your heart, you deserve to say what's true for you and to walk out the door if you need to.

And everyone's perception of the truth is vastly different. And life is too short to have crappy looking hair or have a brain tumor take you out because you don't want to cause "a problem".

My hunch is that my old stylist is relieved to be done with me and that conversation too. And I like to think that I freed up her schedule for a new, wonderful client who absolutely loves just her way of seeing the color red!

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