Connect 2013 Part III: Social Ponderings

In my first post about Connect, I spoke a little about feeling refreshed creatively, but almost as dramatically, I felt refreshed socially and emotionally. I remembered a lot about what makes me who I am and why I got into this industry in the first place.

Growing up, I saw myself as a healer, a source of comfort for those around me. To me, that was the most important quality I held. I thrived in hospitals, homeless shelters, funeral homes. I wanted to work in social justice or the mental health field. I went to college thinking I would work with victims of substance abuse. Much too much for someone so tender hearted. Fields that require tough love, when I was always more into the soft sorts.

At Connect I felt very hyper aware of the people around me and their energy was contagious. I am naturally fairly quiet but I love quality nonverbal communication. A touch on the arm, the right look in the eye, the correct degree of smile for any given moment. People always harp on remembering people’s name and I am almost decent at it, but what is never mentioned is how you can look someone in the eye and have them know that you know exactly who they are, and I think that is far more important than eye contact. I have known a lot of names for people I didn’t really know, and I think that is something people can feel.

Anyway, Connect gave me so much joy it just reminded me that that is what I want to give to my clients. I want to make them comfortable, excited. I want them to feel apart of something. I want them to feel alive and welcome and eager for change. I want them to be fearless.

One thing I thought a lot about this week is how small a percentage of someone’s personality is actually that person, mostly it is how they are reacting to their surroundings, which could result in actions that are quite contrary to how they normally are. I was keenly aware of how my actions could help people have a better day, a better experience, especially the first day of training when there was a lot of nervous energy lingering in the room. I remembered that paying attention to and helping others is one of the most important parts of my job, and that it is one of the reasons that I chose this line of work. It unlocks a part of myself and a part in others that can really change… Everything.

Connect 2013 Part I: Reconnecting with Myself Circa 2007

I spent last week in Las Vegas training with Sebastian Professional at an event called Connect (which included Wella, Nioxin and Clairol). I have written a great deal since Connect, so expect more posts to come, some will be hair related but mostly this was a week of finding myself more as a person and an artist. The energy of Connect and all the fabulous hairdressers attending, seemed to reawaken someone who I once was. It was a similar feeling to my early college years, where art ruled my life and haircuts were done in hallways and bathrooms with my friends wearing ripped up garbage bags as capes. It was electric. It was just the regression I needed, because it is so easy to lose yourself in the day to day and so hard to be on your A game if you aren’t being completely true to yourself, at least for me.

In college you could mostly find me holed up in a corner making crude sculptures or writing on my windows. Most people knew me like this:

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Or this:

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Above I am explicating trash/treasure from a scummy park with the intention of making found art. I remember every RA in the dorm telling me that the nasty shopping cart I hauled out of a hillside was not allowed in, and yet it got to my room and stayed there. For whatever reason people have always just let me get away with things, little and big. I guess because I am small, quiet and have a nice smile? I don’t know.

It is interesting to look at my old work and see how I have always been most obsessed with texture.

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When working on this tree project I could not close my eyes without seeing bark patterns. I nearly went crazy, working 8+ hour days creating the texture out of newspaper and duct tape.

It is so strange, how coming together with the Sebastian team didn’t just inspire me to do hair, it had me writing on napkins again, re-reading my favorite poems, yearning for international travel and reminiscing over the different places my art has taken me in the past.

One of the things I love about Sebastian is that it has a strong culture, a strong identity, and the hair styles emanate from that. Over the course of the last few months I have been re-immersing myself in all of the things I used to enjoy, making time for concerts and writing and the occasional painting. It is invigorating and truly just what I needed. Starting out as a hair stylist I always felt the need to fit a certain mold, and I struggled and found myself generally unhappy. The Sebastian culture, however, is one I feel completely welcome within and I feel the importance of being in tune with the artist I am.