Art and Therapy In Unexpected Places

Tonight I draw your hair,
A hair of simplicity,
With a mysterious beauty,
That no one can ever resist,
A hair that blooms with the sun,
That always shines every sunrise,
And turns into deep black at sunset,
A hair of smooth silk,
That touches my face like a baby,
And comforts my soul into a sleeping baby,
Like the lullaby that can put me into sleep,
Your hair blooms unlike any other.

[Geovanni Leaño]

My life path had taken me into a career in medicine, a career which was my only plan since the age of six. There was no other option in my mind, or my heart. I did not even have a backup plan in place; in retrospect, perhaps this was poor insight, or perhaps it was the driving force for success. When forced to think about what profession I may have otherwise chosen, I often found myself drawn to social work as a potential alternate calling. Later in life, I considered whether public health was the better way to get where I wanted to be (I have had this discussion with a few friends. A few of us came to realize that the career we chose, although we do not regret or dislike it by any means, may not have been the most logical path to get us to our vision of the work we initially intended to do).

Through the years, I have come to notice the value of other professions in the services they provide and the people they help in their own ways. For instance, a manicurist. Getting a manicure is one of my absolute favorite luxuries. I don’t get them consistently; I usually leave my nails bare, but for special occasions or even on a whim, I would manicure and paint them myself. Once in a blue moon, however, I indulge and pay for this service that leaves me feeling like a million bucks. The manicurist often includes a short massage of the hands and arms; these few minutes are basically heaven on earth, especially after a rough work week. It amazes me to experience such tension melting away when I did not even realize its presence in my hands in the first place. But it really is not so surprising; I use my hands constantly — in the physical examining, the writing, the typing, the cooking, the petting of my cats, the texting, the weight lifting, the dishwashing…the list goes on. As I have written about before, getting a manicure lifts the spirit immediately! I can only hope that a manicurist knows the joy she or he brings to so many people on such a simple level.

The other profession I have noticed myself slightly envious of lately is that of the hairdresser. In fact, this entire post stemmed from my fantastic first experience with my new hair stylist Natalie of Beaucoup Salon. There is a great deal of skill involved in this trade; anyone who has had a bad haircut can attest to the importance of a well-trained and in-tune hair dresser! It is as though weeks and months of stress and worry layer onto each strand of hair, turning some gray in the process. The sound of scissors snipping away at dead ends and the feathery fall of semi-damp curls to the ground is like feeling a weight being lifted away. Having my scalp washed and massaged under hot water while the aroma of fruits and nut oils lightens the heavy mind is euphoria at its finest. The hairdresser serves as a therapist wielding shears. Throw in a conversation about New Orleans, good food, live music, and the Lorde album on replay, and you’ve almost reached nirvana!

Both the manicurist and the hair stylist are artists in their own right. They shape, sculpt, paint, chisel, highlight, bejewel, twist, construct, create. They have an eye for what is beautiful and apply it to the human easel. As someone who loves looking at art (but cannot produce it to save my life), this is a trait I wholeheartedly admire.

The way these professionals leave their customers feeling refreshed, revitalized, and relaxed is truly enviable. As my hairdresser told me the other day, “I don’t come to work, I come to play!” Wouldn’t we all benefit from such an outlook in our own professions? When we approach our work with this same level of excitement and pride, the personal rewards are magnified and the stressors are diminished. It’s simply amazing how the most unexpected people can help us hack our own lives.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Lovely poem. Yes it’s good to be pampered once in a while, but no hairdresser could make my hair look like that. :(


  2. vnp1210 says:

    I really love that poem too. Thanks for the comment!


  3. diahannreyes says:

    I love this perspective. You are so right on both counts. I am definitely going to keep this in mind the next time I get my hair or nails done. Same w/massage- I don’t think just anyone can give an amazing one.


    1. vnp1210 says:

      Totally true! Thanks much =)


  4. Natalie Sigmon says:

    I can not thank you enough for the kind words Varsha! You are beautiful through and through. I so enjoy our dates at hair therapy:) See u soon!


    1. vnp1210 says:

      Of course! You rock!


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