I have been M.I.A for a while and have often thought of what silly story I was going to tell, or what joke I was going to make to explain my absence. However, I could never bring myself to sit down and type a word of it because I knew it wasn’t authentic. I have built my reputation, and career as a stylist, on being transparent- sometimes to my detriment. So, in the interest of transparency, I feel the need to share another post that is not a makeup review, but is personal.
This industry is an ever morphing entity. We as people, too, are ever changing. Where I saw myself going 15 years ago, is certainly not where I see myself today. I had great aspirations of working in New York, with the top stylists, in the top salons, working on every day people. Once I ended up in Atlanta, it was overwhelmingly apparent that I found my home. To me, at least, Atlanta was just enough city, to satisfy what I had always dreamed. I worked in a salon I loved. As an intern, I was blessed to be able to watch stylists with such talent, that I often wondered how I would even be comparable.
I felt truly trained by the best in this industry, and then I got to work beside them. It was my dream, and I have the pleasure of saying I accomplished it. Along the way I made some of the best friends I have ever made. People who are still close and dear to me. But that salon was not my home forever. My priorities changed. My direction changed. Again, people change.
I started Cayla Does Hair out of need. I was full-time mommy, and I NEEDED to do hair. I needed that creativity, that love, and that passion, perhaps to help remember who I was, and perhaps to remember who I would be.
There is this thing that happens when you are a creative person, and you earn a living from your creativity. It is something you need because it gives you purpose, and you love it, but it can also turn into a monster. You are never again JUST someone’s friend. You are someone who can provide a service, and often times when people think of you- that is why. I have spent years trying to reconcile this in my head, and my heart. Clients who I thought were friends, turned out to be clients who will drop you in a heart beat for reason x,y,z. This is the nature of any business, really, but when you are working from your creativity, it can feel so much more personal.
Everyone has heard the jokes about sitting down in a stylist’s chair, and all of the sudden every thought, and emotional issue you have pours out of you. Its true. I even do it with my stylist (who is also a very good friend.) But this thing happens when your client shares personal information. You feel bonded to them in some way. At least I do. I listen to them. I empathize with them, and I do my best to give them the most beautiful cut, color, style and experience that I can so they walk out feeling better, and refreshed. However, due to that transparent nature of who I am, 9 times out of 10, my clients will ask something semi, if not totally personal, and I often times don’t hold back. I share. I share because the human spirit can identify with experience. I share because I want them to know I care, and sometimes I share, because I am who I am- honest and open, sometimes to my detriment.
All of this to get to the heart of this post: burn out. I have not written because I have been burnt out. It happens with anything but especially when you are working from your creativity. It happens when you emotionally invest in a client and they decide one day that because you can’t bend over backwards they are going to go to another stylist. It happens when you receive that one e-mail stating (DIRECT QUOTE) “Hi, I was writing to find out what your prices are for a bride and bridal party. I already have a stylist hired, but if you are cheaper then I will go with you.” It happens with those ‘friends’ who only text you because they need their hair done… “oh and we should do dinner too…” and it happens when LIFE happens. Burn out can happen to any of us, for any reason, at any time. But for me, personally, I had too many things going on, and a few things that hurt emotionally, and I had to take a step back.
There are many things that can happen when you are viewing a situation. We only have our perceptions with which to judge, so what I often do is take a step back and I write until I have worked it out, because eventually I am lead to peace, or understanding, or both. There is no ‘one situation’ that lead me to take a step back, but simply many compounding and finally I felt enough was enough. Many times I have thought ‘I am done.’ I am going to throw in the towel. And then I remember those clients that I love. I remember why I chose to enter into such a personal industry. Because we are Day-Makers. We may have the clients that hurt us. We may have the disrespectful e-mails about our pricing. We may have fair-weather friends who only text us when they need their hair done, but in the end, we are Day-Makers. We get to breathe life into people. We get to make them feel better about themselves. They trust us. They put themselves in our hands, with a hope of walking out feeling and looking better than when they walked in. And for the precious few, we really do receive friendship, or so much more.
“Sarah” was my client for a short amount of time. She was very easy going, a little quirky, and would have loved whatever I did to her hair. She was energetic, and contagious with that energy. She and her husband had the most fascinating story- he was a refugee from a very scary government, with a lot of dirt on that government, and Sarah was prepared to write about it. They were married very close to the same time as my husband and I. She and I shared a birthday. We were close in age. We had a lot in common. When she talked about her husband, her eyes lit up and the passion she felt for him was enviable.
She came into the salon one day, and sat down in my chair. I knew there was something wrong, but she told me what she wanted me to do with her hair, so I mixed her color and came back out to apply it. As I began to place her foils she said ‘I need to tell you something…” For the next 20 minutes I foiled her hair and I cried. I cried all of my makeup off. I cried openly in the salon, while she cried. We cried together as she told me about her husband’s sudden, completely unexpected passing. I cried as she told me they didn’t know he had cancer… and he was gone in a week. I cried as she told me that I was doing her color for his funeral. I cried because I knew their story, and I knew her, and I loved her…. and my heart was broken for her.
I saw her one more time before she moved. She had to leave. Everything she did reminded her of him. Every place she drove by. She had to leave. I never saw her again.
I wrote “Sarah” in January of this year. It was particularly cold, and I pulled out my scarves, and I found the scarf she knitted me and gave to me before she left.. so I wrote her. I had no idea if she’d respond, or remember me.
She wrote me back and started her e-mail with “My Dear, Sweet Cayla,” She proceeded to tell me her happy ending. It has been 6 years since his passing. She wrote me to tell me of visiting his country, and the good she was able to do. She also wrote me to tell me that she was to be married again in 1 month.
Despite the downs of this industry; despite the e-mails that question us; despite the “friends” who only think of you when they need their hair done, and despite the clients that that will drop you in a second- there are the “Sarahs.” There are the clients who give you so much more than you could ever give them. There are the clients who write “My Dear, Sweet Cayla.” There are the people who you invested your time in, gave a piece of your heart to, and are so thankful that even though it can be to your detriment- being open and honest with people is authentic, and who you are, despite the pain mixed in. Despite the pain mixed in, we are Day-Makers.
This blog started out as a venue to host articles I wrote for an Atlantan magazine, but it has grown into a place to voice my heart, thoughts, opinions and… yes, product reviews. 🙂 That being said, I will continue to do product reviews, but this blog is about to take on a whole new life to include a whole lot more day to day stuff. Like it or leave it, I’m ready for THIS change.
Have a beautiful day-