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Impromptu Writing Prompt in 3..2..1..

“I have no right to feel sorry for myself”

I have no right to feel sorry for myself that is the short and simple reality of the situation. It is the logical part of my brain that has a moment to voice it’s opinion before my demons come back to haunt me. They burn deep inside my gut as look out at the skyline and remember her, I remember my sweet Esme.

Esme Warren wasn’t like the other girls, I knew that the first time I saw her. On a muggy summer day, she answered her cousin Nikko’s door in a flower covered sundress and a lace covered apron. Her chestnut hair shown in the sunlight and bright blue eyes sparkled like diamonds, and she smiled at me. She didn’t smile at me with ambition or intentions, just warmth and sweetness that was uniquely hers. It wasn’t her ass or her tits that did it for me, it was those diamond eyes and sweet voice that welcomed me inside and got me a glass of lemonade, she was different…and I was to stupid to understand just how different.

The look on her face when I fed her that first sleazy line was something so cringeworthy I still get nauseated thinking about it, her diamonds turned to storm clouds as she ever so politely excused herself. She never looked at me again, never smiled, and when I walked into a room she left. For the first time since puberty looked at me in disgust, and even worse a little fear. I never forgot that look she gave me and it drove me insane, there was no getting her out of my head. No matter how drunk and high I got or curvy brunettes I plowed through the mattress, there was no killing that ache to make things right

I knew that before that summer was over I had to make Esme smile at me again, with that same warmth and open heart that she did when I saw her that first time, I was bound and determined. Unfortunately, I was also half a bottle deep in a fifth of Jim Beam. For the life of me, I can’t recall exactly how I ended up there, but I woke up the next morning freshly showered on soft sheets that smelled of Lilacs and Nectarine to that sweet voice that haunted me.

“Don’t move too much, you took a nasty fall”

I grumbled my compliance and laid my pounding head back down.

“You’re lucky Nikko wasn’t here, or there would have been some real trouble for making me take care of you.” She said in mild annoyance, placing a bottle of water to my lips.

I got to really look at her then as I let the cool water run down my throat, she was sitting on the edge of the mattress. Her hair was mussed from sleep and she was wrapped in a soft white bathrobe, I was kicking myself for being jealous of a bathrobe.Those diamond eyes were still storm clouds even though her dark brows were knitted in concern. I had hope.

“I guess you don’t hate me as much as thought, huh, darlin’?” I rasped, giving her a small half smile.

Then, just like that, the same old disgust returned.

“Are you always this unbelievably arrogant? I don’t know what you see yourself as, Archer, but not every girl is some bimbo just waiting for your attention. If you must know, I’m a nurse…at least that’s what I’m studying to be and it would have been unethical for me to let you lay passed out on my front porch wreaking of sex and whiskey in a puddle of your own fecal matter to choke on your own puke.” She said softly, her voice remaining even despite the fire burning underneath of it. If I hadn’t just been ripped a new one in the most graceful, classy way possible…I would have been seriously turned on.

I reacted the only way I knew how to react to a beautiful woman

“What do you see me as, Sweet Thing?” I asked as I picked myself up, enjoying the way her hackles were rising at the pet name she hated.

“Me? Archer, I see you as a pervert and a drunk with no goals and crappy priorities. You have no respect for anything or anyone including yourself. You’re selfish and you pass yourself around like, like, like, it’s nothing. You’re a jerk, Archer Cade, and never in a million years would I want someone as cruel or irreverent as you!” She finished with deep heavy breathes before she stormed out of the room and never looked back.

I had badgered Nikko about her enough to know that she didn’t have a cruel word to say about anyone, nope, my girl never lost her temper. Yet, she had just destroyed me. It was something that I couldn’t quite put into words, I didn’t know this girl, what did I care what she thought? I was Archer Fucking Cade, I could have any number of girls at this house and in this bed with a single text message.

None of those girls had eyes that sparkled like diamonds or a smile full of enough love for ten people. It made me ache as her words echoed in the back of my head, I really didn’t care. In fact, I lived by the words “I don’t give a damn” like it was something to be proud of. Only, with Isa, I did give a damn. She was right though, I wasn’t good enough for her…but I knew I could be.

I didn’t get to tell her that, when I finally left her bed, she was gone. I wanted to say it before I went to the recruiting office, I wanted say it before I left for Parris Island. Basic training didn’t leave me much time to do much, but I wrote her every chance I got. Each letter told her everything and nothing, but I never told her writing to her was the one thing I looked forward to at the end of the day. She was the only person I had to write to, in spite of the fact that I had tons of people that  I partied with I never had a real friend. I had people that would have let me lay in my own shit and choke on puke while they took pictures and laughed. No, Isa was the one trace of light in that whole situation. I didn’t have a picture of her, but I had that first time I saw her imprinted in the back of my mind. I imagined holding her when I graduated, I knew I wasn’t good enough, but I was getting better everyday. It was what motivated me and when that picture started to fade, I got a letter, the one I’m staring at now.

Dear Archer, 

Or should I say Private Cade…is that what the Marines call it? How are you? I hope you are well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written and re-written this one letter. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m painfully shy (assuming there isn’t a hangover involved, haha). Thank you for all of your lovely letters, I thought after how ugly I was to you the last time I saw you, I would be the absolute last person you wouldn’t want to write to. Then again you always seem to be so full of surprises. I’m so sorry for the horrible names I called you, I was frightened. You always knew how to make an entrance and that night was no exception, I was scared of you choking, I stayed up the whole night worrying…

Archer, please don’t think you aren’t special, you are! I’m so, so very proud of you. Although it’s so quiet without you here, too quiet. We miss you, Archer, I even miss you. I don’t know when or if you’ll get this, but just know you’re always in my thoughts and prayers. 

Love Always

Your Friend, 

Esme

I have no right to feel sorry for myself, it’s not like this is some Dear John letter, but the last thing I want Esme to be is my friend, I want her to be my girl…hell..she IS my girl, even if she doesn’t know it yet. I won’t make the same mistake, I’m going to do this the right way…the painfully right way. If that means I have to put what would feel good aside in favor of what she needs, so be it.

I’m not good enough for you now, Esme…but soon Sweet Thing, real, real soon.

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Color Miracle or Color Pipedream: From light to dark, what are you asking of your stylist?

Good (Obscenely Early) Morning!

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This post is inspired by the above piece that I saw on FaceBook. Aside from having me in stitches, it was always also glaringly accurate, and I couldn’t help but throw in my two cents!

It happens every day in salons all over the world, from the freshly licensed to the most seasoned of veterans, every stylist has either had or seen that client ask for that color service.

Sure, starts out innocently enough: a warm welcome and pleasant chit-chat the two make their way to the chair and begin the consultation. Then, without warning, it happens! Like a punch to the solar-plexus, the box-derived Chocolate Brunette wants to return her waist length locks to her natural Platinum Blonde. The clients expectations are as follows (and by no means negotiable):

  • Her price range is going to remain within range of $100-$150, maximum.
  • Her hair will be returned to her natural color, that day. No brass or copper tones.

While not always the case, the above scenario with potential for tip-toeing through a professional minefield of epic proportions with the following conversation more than certain to follow:

Client: “Why can’t it be done?”/”Are your sure it can’t be done?”/Any variation of this question.

Stylist: Sure, it can be done:

  • “but not at risk of your hair”
  • “but not ethically”
  • “but not by me!”
  • “but…hold on, you’re joking right?…Right?!”
  • “LOLOLOLOL”
  • “but why don’t we save us both some time and I’ll just get my clippers now, would you like a buzzcut, or just plain bald?”

fist-pump-baby-left-hair-color-in-for-2-hours-hair-didnt-fall-out

That’s not to say hair miracles don’t exist or even happen every day through:

  • Some seriously talented stylists
  • Kick-ass add-ons to repair and protect hair like Olaplex and Neobonds
  • Incredible brands with insane capabilities like Schwarzkopf’s decolorizer!

The difference is, every one of the above has only a certain amount of power and realistic capabilities. Our Client and many others often mistake a stylist’s unwillingness to compromise a client’s hair as greed or a lack of skill rather than genuine care for their client’s best interest and acting in an ethical manner.

Well…Here is the cold, hard truth.

Sure, you might have a friend that “went to beauty school and does it all the time”, but we’re licensed and they’re not. You’re in our chair, not theirs. Even the most attainable of hair Miracles aren’t cheap, because each and every one of us no matter how inexperienced (and possibly a few other people behind the scenes) are busting our asses to give you what you asked for. Sometimes that means multiple visits, I would apologize, but I would have to be sorry first.

In this case….

Box Color:

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Is something every one of us has dabbled with before we knew how harsh it was on our hair. Seriously, it’s ****ing brutal and full of cheap metals and other materials to make it more affordable to the general public. It has to be handled properly with a clarifying treatment or that Platinum hair is going to come out anywhere from “Blorange” to Slime green!

“Lightening” Your Hair:

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Taking your hair from light to dark is all about Developer (the stuff that activates the lightener…basically the bleach). When it comes to hair, every shade has a number 1 (darkest) and 10 (lightest). The strongest developer (40 Volume) will typically only lift hair 3-4 shades. Simply, if you are a 1 (Black) and you want to become a Platinum Blonde (10), you are going to leave the salon that first round  at least a 4 (and so on and so forth). Even add-ons like Olaplex that will give your hair more love than Julia Roberts gave Richard Gere in “Pretty Woman”, or the badassery that is Schwarzkopf Lightener can’t take away the fact that your hair is going to be copper before it is Platinum. That’s not greed or lack of skill, that’s Chemistry.

Today is a new journey,

-Sloan

Bionic Cosmetologist

Cochlear Implant · First Post

Starting the Journey: Shears, Ears, and Everything in Between!

Hi Everyone!

I’m so excited for this first post! I was a little nervous to start this blog, but from what I understand it’s kind of like bungee jumping “the hardest part is letting go”. This whole “Blog Thing” started when I received some very sage advice from some very important people in my life. “If you find your passion you’ll never work a day in your life”.

Let me start by introducing myself, my name is Sloan and I’m from Richmond Virginia. Between October 2015 and December of 2016 three of the most important events of my life occurred: I graduated from beauty school, passed my state board, and got to Cochlear Implants or as my nephew calls it, “I got ‘Robot Ears”. Although, I refer to myself as just plain “Bionic” (and yes, it’s going on my business cards).

             Needless to say the journey through Empire Beauty School B.E. (Before Ear) and onward has been an “interesting” (particularly having to go without my hearing). In spite of all the obstacles, up to and including a broken neck (but that is another story for another time) I made it. However, after graduation reality set in. I didn’t have instructors to fill in the gaps when I spoke to salon managers over the phone or strained to hear over my peers at school sponsored job fairs! As time wore on and my hearing as well as my skills began to fade, so did my hope. Cosmetology and Beauty School: The one choice that I had truly made for myself was blowing up in my face…brutally. I thought: “Have I just made the biggest mistake of my life?” 

Fast forward (more than) a few months later, to a small room in VCU Audiology I was taking frustrating tests and talking options that (at the time) seemed less than appealing. Human nature, especially pride and vanity are funny things, and no one wants to be told they are different. No one wants to be told they are going to go deaf. However, one thing constantly remained inside my mind: hair! When I was going through the glossy brochure pictures of other bionic people before my operation, the hair was all I could seem to stare at. I was thinking such absurd things as “My hair is so curly and super thick, am I really going to have to chop it all off?”.

The situation gave me an idea about using the skills and creativity that I had put on the backburner due to my hearing (or lack thereof) to work! As the day of my first operation grew closer, I plotted how I was going to keep my hair. Using my knowledge to achieve the look I wanted, made me more comfortable in my own skin (and now partially magnetic scalp). It was a journey that re-ignited my love for cosmetology and reminded me why I chose it in the first place. Looking back now after my “activation day”, I wouldn’t give my “Robot Ear” back if you paid me.

Once upon a time, I thought the day I signed up for school was the day my life started, but it was really the day my ear was switched on. After that, a whole new world was opened up to me and I was able to let my career begin (kind of)! There has been a lot of learning, a lot of struggling, a lot of rust, and a TON of insecurities! However, with that came a TON of information and a few good ladies and gentleman to teach me about hair and about life. These next few tidbits that come include perspective on the industry, lessons learned, a beginner’s guide for navigating magnets, and other bits and pieces as I sort through two big pieces of my life: My craft and my health.

Today begins a new journey, and I hope you’ll hang in there with me.

-Sloan