Behind the Hair

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In case your new to the site, I’m in Buffalo, New York this week, which is my favorite city and where I was raised. I’m basking in the beauty of quality time with my parents and watching them become amused and exhausted by my two little ones. It’s a true gift to be home and I’m grateful for our time together.

In desperate need of hair care, I asked my mother if she’d watch my girls while I went for a cut and color. I’m loyal and don’t deviate from the caretakers and custodians in my life, which includes my hair stylists. The woman who cut and colored my hair today had me in her chair at the ripe age of four. After a quick embrace, she got to work on my hot mess of hair horror.

I’ve always the loved the salon setting. Maybe it stems from my fascination with Miss Truvy’s in Steel Magnolias. Or, it might be my penchant for observational gossip. Regardless, I like to sit and absorb the antics. But today my stylist wanted to talk. With a coffee in hand, I explained the concept of fika and we dove right in.

She mentioned her work in elder care. Specifically, she had a position where she ran a salon at an assisted living facility. This allowed older people to look their best and gather in a communal salon setting. She spoke about their stories. Essentially, people pour their hearts out in her chair. Their lives become an open book, which in turn becomes a sharing session for others as well.

We agreed that as people age their need to foster connection grows. For various reasons, people long to leave their legacy with someone. We discussed the joy we find through these connections and the opportunities and insight it provides us in our own lives.

As she snipped here and colored there, she spoke about her desire to gather and share the stories she’s heard behind the hair. It struck me that she’s heard several interesting things, which shaped her career and conscience. Like me, she wants to write and exchange.

In an age of chronic cell phone communication, for the most part, people still commit to conversation at the salon.

There are certain places and professions where fika happens more organically and freely. Today was a good reminder to be open and receptive to the unexpected. Because behind the hair, a story lurks waiting to be told.

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