Thursday, July 19, 2012

Trust salon

Like any full-blooded woman, I have a thing about my hair and every day is a gratifying -- and at times wearisome -- ritual. Admittedly, it is complicated to describe what is the obsession right there; because I am convinced that it is more than wanting to look nice - or even just presentable (isn't a bad hair day, quintessentially, an all-embracing problem?). But known fact is that I put a tremendous amount of effort, time and one must confess - money - into caring for them. Yes, my hair is quite valuable to me because... well, I genuinely, absolutely love them. As simple as that. Consequently, I consider the occasional salon time a well-sought after, worked-hard-for, hopefully well-deserved me-time. And I reckon that this kind of feel-good factor should always be made a priority in life; as it surely does not come as often as we would like, or let ourselves indulge. And in a fast-paced society such as ours, it is imperative to unwind from time to time. For me, something as ordinary as going to the salon preciously provides that.

I have been going to the same one for many years now. I adore my parlor, and each time I enter is, once more, a treasured time to relish and relax. Unquestionably, the reason why I am a loyal customer is because my hairdresser has the ability to answer to all my desires. I trust him: he knows my hair by the inch and recognizes precisely what they need. And when I ask for more than a straightforward trim, I am glad that he gives me his honest opinion on whether that idiosyncratic cut or treatment sees me fit. In addition, when he suggests something new, I usually agree and put my hair -- and  trust -- in his hands. True to form, I have never once left the salon disappointed.    

So, much to my discontentment, my eyes saw red when I discovered that my favorite hairdresser left the parlor as well as town. Saddened, it really felt like the end of an era: though we only met one or two times every couple of months, I grew very fond of him. As trite as this might sound, I believe that you build some sort of relationship with your hairdresser over time; and that tie is essential to your well-being. Sincerely, if a person manages to make you feel good about your hair or yourself -- especially on days when you need it the most -- then that is one constant, dependable, healthy relationship you must value and be grateful for... even if, ironically, you generally know nothing more about him/her outside that specific context.  How strange, and divine, it is to have someone you hardly know contribute to a dose of your happiness... I will miss him, more importantly, I will miss his excellent services. 

In desperate need of a new hairstyle, I went into a state of panic once I realized that my faithful friend had already gone and I did not take any measures into finding a new one. I was acquainted with the other hairdressers at the parlor, but after also observing them while I was getting my hair done all those years, none of them quite fit my criteria. So I searched the Internet for new salons, asked friends and visited those forums for a recommendation. I also walked around town, in the process finding out that hair parlors invade the city (in passing, it is funny how I never really payed attention before).  It took me a while to take a decision because I was so picky. And even though I saw one that could be suitable to my taste, I continued having misgivings and would not take the next step. Can I really trust this hairdresser?, I repeated, I mean, I'm trusting him with my hair -- and he might make a complete mess! Plus, it is not as if I can hide them if it goes awry. My companion stopped me right there and then, insisting, Well, you will not know if you can trust him unless you try. Right, of course he was right.

This episode promptly got me into thinking about trust because fundamentally, the reason why you will (eventually) become a loyal customer is because you (grow to, have to, must) trust the hairdresser. You trust him/her with a part of yourself, something that is more or less of substantial value to you, something that you know will stand out - and whether you ever took notice of it beforehand or not, hair says a lot about who you are deep down. Thus, finding a hairdresser that you trust is, ultimately, letting him have a piece of you in his hands. Certainly, trusting somebody is allowing him/her to have a piece of you in their hands...

It applies to all our relationships, doesn't it?

Trust is a main, if not the main, element on which any fruitful relationship relies on. It is a notion that is so central to the blossoming (and mere survival) of relationships - and as Professor Robert C. Solomon once wrote, "trust [should be] built step by step, commitment by commitment, on every level." Without it, none of us could actually function properly. Hereof, when you get to ponder on the relationships in your life, principally with those whom you trust with all your heart, you grasp how sacred that kind of tie is... and whether you ever took notice of it beforehand or not, the numbers are usually not that high. Because trusting another party is indeed hair-raising, it comes with a lot of uncertainties. Like putting your trust -- and hair -- in the hands of your faithful hairdresser, pining your faith on somebody implies trusting him/her with a part of yourself, something that is more or less of substantial value to you, something that you know will stand out -- and what you wholeheartedly share with someone is, ultimately, letting him/her have a piece of you. It is a present to the privileged, no doubt; but it is scary, it is unequivocally terrifying. Reality is that, once you grow older, many turn more suspicious on whom to trust because of letdowns, bad experiences and broken promises. And all will confirm that a damaged trust is incredibly difficult to fix -- or even save. But if you are blessed enough to forge a loyal connection to another individual, then that is definitely God at work. As Walter Anderson underlines, "we're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone - but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy."

In general, the people you trust the most are longtime -- lifetime  -- friends, lovers, co-workers and loved-ones, with whom you have good times and survive trials. They praise you in your heyday and lift you up when you have shortcomings. They know you by the inch; and love you anyway. Once more, if you are fortunate enough to have that constant, dependable, healthy relationship; then you must continuously value that person and be ever grateful for your bond. But the thing about something as cherished -- and yet as hard to find -- as someone you can truthfully trust, you are likely to keep it safe in your bubble and stick to the familiar ones, those whom you know you can count on.
Of course it is not at all a terrible thing but, all of a sudden, this peculiar observation got me into questioning when was the last time any of us got to blindly trust someone new? In this case, people you have good vibes with, yet that are still very much close to being strangers: whether you got to meet them at university, at work, at a gathering, through a friend, etc. The beauty of the universe is that people will keep on coming into our lives. Many whom will matter, many who are (un)fortunately just passing by. Consequently, I couldn't help but wonder how and when do you really know if a person -- anyone really -- is... point blank, trustworthy. More than sharing a presumably cosmic connection, is it testing him/her?  Is it time that will be defining?  Especially since it is common knowledge that it takes years to build that kind of unmitigated trust. Let us be honest, it is a grueling process to put your confidence into somebody new. Not necessarily because you are shaded with distrust to begin with (though disappointment does that to you); but because trusting someone will always be such a high-risked act. The risk to feel utterly exposed, the risk to have your trust taken for granted, the risk to have rotten judgment, the risk to get your heart torn apart. So you resist, you are picky.

It is normal to have reservations, it is expected to be wary -- in particular when it comes to trusting one with something that is so golden to you: your story, your failures, your past, your dreams, yourself. And rightfully, you are less than keen to give that information to an acquaintance. And it is at that precise moment that my companion's advice quickly came in handy. Like recently being forced to find a new hairdresser, it is true that nobody and nothing will ever guarantee if you can trust someone with your hair --  excuse me, your life until you actually try. In hindsight, the people you (grow to, have to, must) trust blindly had their beginnings too, didn't they? And the only way you will ever get "a history" is because you have learned to trust them in time. But it all begins with that turning point. Take a leap of faith. Take the next step. Because though there might be negative outcomes that you cannot possibly foresee, and truth be told, not each person in your surrounding will deserve something so valuable; yes, even so, you shall not refuse the other remarkable, wonderful risk that come along putting your trust into another party: the merit of forging new, meaningful bonds. The start of something... magnificent. New friend. New confidant. New relationship. Trust is the core element of any fruitful, exceptional, long-lasting tie. Once you try, once you trust; you love. And people who will treasure it will matter. And how divine it is to have someone contribute to a dose of your happiness... So when if you see the chance: you must never close your doors, or heart, to that God-given gift.  Let your hair down, who knows, promise yourself it will be worth the risk.