Defining Oneself in Negatives

Earlier this year, I had a very impassioned post about people who claim they are low maintenance. The gist of the post is that a truly ambivalent person, in regards to their image, would not feel the need to say aloud how low maintenance they are and that there is an inherent attitude of superiority in such claims. Today I am pondering the broader issue, when people define themselves with negatives an the intrinsic problems with that mind set.

First off, let’s get on the same page. What I mean is: I am not superficial. I am not beautiful. I am not a smarty pants. I am not overly ambitious. I am not boy crazy. I don’t care about money. I don’t care about clothes. I don’t care about the color of someone’s skin.

As you can see, many of these negatives are positives. What I mean is that it is great to not care about some of these things. Others are assumed to be problems when they are natural or part of human nature, therefore being deceptive. In any case, defining with a negative carries a lot of baggage. It is a way to imply moral high ground and a way to separate yourself from a group. There is an inherent comparison, even when not intended. If it sounds like I am just playing linguistic tricks or reading too much into this, I have considered that and looked into a lot of different contexts and there often is a very different tone involved when someone is using a negative instead of the positive version.

Another problem is that a negative is very ill defined and rarely carries much actual information. It is considerably less thoughtful to use a negative than to really think about and define the positive version of the same sentiment. It makes the issue hazy and vague. It over simplifies, suggests that there is a strict dichotomy between good and bad. Saying what you are is much more complicated, but far more descriptive.

There is also an inherent argument in negatives. They push the listener/reader to say, is that true? When often it isn’t a matter of true or false, good or bad.

For example, I could say, “I am not superficial.” It would encourage people to prove that I am indeed superficial. It would say nothing about what I actually am, if not superficial. And it would be deceptive because the world isn’t made up of superficial and non-superficial people, everyone is somewhere in between the two.

It means more to say, “I value people based on their actions, their sentiments, their emotions, their sense of responsibility to their family, friends and the world at large. I love to discover people truly, and find out who they want to be. I value myself for my own internal voice and my creativity and for what I can bring out in others.” It isn’t as simple, but nothing truly ever is.

Love, love, love

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Nothing adds more natural beauty to a person than love. If you don’t have a person to love today, I hope you all still find a way to celebrate your love for your favorite activities, animals, foods and movies. Take care bloggers!

Here is a picture from last December to make y’all smile 🙂 with Olivia, Ty of Fautaugraufy and Angie of Sew Addicted.

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The Beauty Industry is for Everyone

When I set out to become a hair stylist, it was after several years of cutting my friends’ hair, and hair for friends of friends, and friends of their friends.  I loved the diversity of the people I practiced on, how they were all so chill and seemed more interested in just talking to me and hanging out than worried about any end result.  Obviously, anyone who was more worried about an unlicensed 18 year old was not going to be sitting in my chair, subject to my shears.  But the fact is, everyone gets their hair cut!  And yet, when I was going through school to become the best hair dresser I could, I had this fear that for the rest of my life I would be surrounded by a very particular types of clients, who eat, breathe and sleep for the health and perfection of their hair.  The pressure caused me so much stress, the fear that I could not seem fashionable enough, that I could not style perfectly enough, that the clients would not be able to relate to me as an individual who just wants a fun, interesting, wash and wear style.

I could not have been more wrong.

I could never be the sort to round brush my hair every single day.  And you know what?  There are a lot of people out there that are just like me!  It is not that they are completely ambivalent towards their appearance, they just can’t be troubled to fuss with it for more than x minutes every day.  And that’s ok!

One of the reasons I chose to go to hair school instead of grad school was a huge fear that I would need to be with the same types of people every day for the rest of my life.  I didn’t want everyone around me to be devoted to the same life path, I wanted variety and conversation.  I wanted to learn every day, not just about my field but about everyone else’s field, and I wanted the opportunity to live vicariously through my clients.  So I’m not sure why once I entered hair school I grew in fear that every one that came into my chair would be a ultra-intimidating fashionista.

There are a lot of people that I talk to and I would never figure they care much about makeup or hair products or things of that nature, and admittedly those things are pretty low on their list, and then they ask me questions that let me know they’ve been reading online beauty reviews and articles, they have been wondering about a lot of things, they’ve just been intimidated to talk about them with other people.  These are the people that don’t prioritize good looks on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to come into the salon every now and then to get all dolled up.

We live in a society now where women look in the mirror and see more than just their looks.  We see our accomplishments, our capabilities, our potential.  But that doesn’t mean beauty is forgotten about, or that it is only for young women, tall women, stylish women, petite women, exotic women, glamorous women… beauty is for everyone!  The smart, the strong, the unconventional… everyone.  And I love to celebrate that fact every single day.

And it happens with both genders.  It seems like at a young age kids begin identifying as “good-looking” or “not-so-good-looking.”  It is deeply ingrained inside adults.  With men especially, a hair cut can dramatically change everything about their appearance, make them hire-able or fire-able.  For men, women and children, I believe it is my duty to make sure they have the best possible image, outwardly and inwardly.

In other words, I never want to make anyone feel like “the beauty industry” is a place only for certain types of people.  I think everyone should feel comfortable with exploring their own image, and I think it is my job to make everyone more comfortable inside their own skin.