Hello and welcome to another chapter of Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude is always the focus of my writing, which for today is for something I often forget to be grateful for, that being the ability to cut and style my own hair.
Growing up, I never liked the hairstyles my mother made me wear. My hair was either parted to the left and slicked back with a ton of hair spray or it was parted straight down the middle and slicked to both sides. I always looked so goofy and nerdy with those styles, but she liked me having long hair and so that lasted all the way up to my senior year of high school. It was then I spiked my hair around Halloween with some gel to abruptly try something different. She didn’t like that much, but I felt it was time to start looking the way I wanted. Once I realized how much I liked my hair spiked, I began having it cut differently. I was such the perfectionist back then that I’d even ask the hairdresser to borrow her scissors after she had finished where I’d snip a few hairs here and there.
After I left for college, which was more than six hours from home, I let my hair go for several months until I headed home for the holidays to get it cut again. That really bothered me because my hair became quite greasy the longer it got. Because of that, I asked an African-American friend of mine back at school during the winter to give me a haircut. He always did such nice fades on many of his friend’s heads and I wanted mine to look like theirs. Unfortunately, when he did, he screwed it up royally, causing me to have to shave my entire head down to nothing but a fuzz. It was at that very moment, in all my frustration, that I told myself I’d figure out how to cut my own hair from then on.
Ever since that day, I’ve been cutting my own hair on the average about once a week. I calculated I’ve saved close to $27,000 over the past three decades because of it! Beyond the incredible gratitude I have over that statistic, the mere fact I learned how to do my own flattop decades ago, where my hair stood about 8 inches high was a feat in itself, as was learning how to do my own fades. I messed up a lot, until I didn’t. Practice ultimately did make perfect. As the years went on, and my styles changed, I became proficient with both clippers, their attachments, and scissors. I taught myself how to style my hair shorter and shorter, until eventually I settled on somewhat of a marine cut, which I’ve kept for quite a long time now. Sometimes I make slight changes, but for the most part cutting and styling my hair feels more like a weekly chore now, and one that I can do on auto-pilot.
Honestly, it feels pretty good to be able to cut my hair as proficiently and as easily as I do. It typically takes me no more than 15 minutes to do and while I know it may seem like being able to cut and style my own hair is kind of a silly thing to be grateful for, I consider it rather empowering. The fact that I taught myself how to do it eons ago, and saved thousands and thousands of dollars over the years in the process is pretty damn awesome.
Cutting hair is like any other ability. It takes time and practice, but it can be learned like anything else. All you really need is a steady hand and the tools, and of course the willingness to screw up until you don’t. I’m grateful I still have this skillset and am thankful for that long-ago friend from college for having messed up my hair as bad as he did. Because it was that very mishap that motivated me to learn how to do it myself, something I’ve come to find great happiness in, and something I felt warranted a Grateful Heart Monday entry.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson