So there I was; a little girl with her bedroom door closed, staring into the little oval mirror of my little white duchess, wishing the eyes looking back at me were green and not black, willing my hair to drop it’s curls and just be straight and glossy, while all the mean words that had left more than one male’s lips drifted through my mind and took up permanent residence.
Isn’t it ridiculous how just three immature words from your little brother’s mouth can ruin you?
“You fat pig” Yep – those stupid three words. That’s all it takes.
Teenage years saw me dragging around low self esteem like a ball and chain. But don’t worry! You know what they say – through adversity comes greatness. It taught me what I wanted from my life. I developed a vision, and I used every hurtful word and insecurity to push forwards and build myself a small but proud empire.
But what’s the point of this success when, as a woman in my thirties, I still look in the mirror and wish my eyes were green, my nose was smaller, my skin was smoother, my body was more toned… how can I begin to stop this process? Now I’m not unintelligent; I know very well that there are so many people who are struggling with real hardships and have it far worse than me and that I should just woman-up and be happy. And yet still, every day, that damn mirror smirks a cruel smile and slides a knife between the ribs in just the right spot …sigh.
You can image what it’s like being a hairdresser – there’s barely a moment when your whole body isn’t reflected in 6 different mirrors. All of them whispering mean things to you.
“Yeah! Me too! What’s your point?!” You say?
Well, you see, I haven’t told you my dream yet. It isn’t merely having a salon. My dream is this – one little girl at a time, I seek to make positive change and break the low self-image cycle. In fact, I have already seen the follow on as the years have passed – clients I have had for over fifteen years are now mums and I am now doing for next generation what I have been able to do for them.
Recently, I had an opportunity to step up and take some responsibility for a young person’s self-esteem, and I took it.
A little girl walked into my salon with her mum, and I wanted her to feel like a princess. She climbed up and sat alone (in the big girls chair) and spent a good twenty minutes being gushed over.
“You are beautiful!” “I wish I was as pretty as you!” “When I grow up I want to be as gorgeous as you are!”
I cut her hair and offered her a ‘Princess Braid’ (there are many different options) and the whole time she is watching herself in the mirror and smiling at her reflection and making positive choices, all the while having a wholly positive experience in front of a mirror with a stranger no less! I then proceeded to offer her the crème de la creme – a diamante and a pretty clip, and she walked out with a bounce in her step, smiling, happy, and all the while not understanding that I am desperate for her to grow into a woman that can look at herself in a mirror and remember a little girl that was beautiful; to smile when she gets ready for work without wishing her features were different as she dusts on her make up.
So yes, I have a dream. And it’s a whopper. But just maybe, one little girl at a time will grow up knowing she is perfect just the way she is.
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