My mom was a hairdresser when I was little. My aunt was a hairdresser too. They used to work evenings and every Saturday at the salon. I still love the smell of hair perm solution and purple Thrills gum! It reminds me of those Saturdays when she worked and my Dad would take us to visit and for a spin in the big hair chairs.
In my family, hair is important. I thought I would never get another person other than my Mom to cut my hair until one of my sister’s best friends became a hairdresser and my mom started seeing her. And so, our hairdresser is also important. In fact, Sam, our hairdresser, was one of the first people outside my immediate family that I shared J’s gender identity with. It was partly out of necessity at the time because we had hair appointments booked and J was asking to get rid of the bob he had in Kindergarten. But really, she was the perfect person to share with because she has this wonderfully accepting heart and is not afraid to show it to anyone who needs it. She is the kind of person who takes time out of her day to send little “thinking of you” messages to her friends going through a rough week. She is beautiful inside and out.
The night before we went to Sams, I had to come out to her about the transition we were going through with J. I did it over text. I knew she would be supportive, but I wanted to make sure that when we walked in the salon, she would be excited for a super cool cut without any gender attached to it. And as expected, Sam replied with amazing words of encouragement for me, and really, a lot of excitement! It was one of those moments that really helped me move forward on this path for J.
We were so lucky to walk into that salon the next day comforted that Sam wouldn’t blink an eye at the photo of the BOY with the fade we had ready to show her. Conversation went as normal in Sam’s hair chair, until the cut was done. It is hard to even write this moment down without tearing up, in fact I am definitely crying in a coffee shop right now. I still feel that moment so clearly. I let go of a lot that day. And I saw my boy that day.
After the cut, J put his coke bottle glasses back on his face, and with his new leather jacket, and boys pants with pockets, he finally reflected who he saw inside. He was finally ready to see who he was inside. He didn’t shy away. He was ecstatic! There was dancing along the street to the car and LOTS of pictures taken. Sam gave that to him. Sam gave that to me. And she did it in such a loving and affirmative way. It showed us that people outside our family can accept him for who he is. It certainly had the feeling of his coming out, even if we didn’t change pronouns or name for another 7 months.