Have you ever had an existential crisis at the hairdressers? I’ll be honest – I have one at least every two years.
2020 has been all about the little things. Little kindnesses, as my mother-in-law said the other day, that can turn your day around. Or even your week. Socially distanced chats at school pick-up, a voice note from a friend, a take-away, the trip to Aldi where you actually wear a bra (makeup is now officially beyond me). There’s not much going on in the way of fun or escapism at the moment, and a distinct lack of stuff to look forward to. So bits of normality, particles from our pre-Covid lives that used to be pretty mundane, have become small treasures.
Stuff like going to the hairdressers.
I’ve always loved going to the hairdressers. The only thing that’s expected of you is that you drink coffee and flick through pretty magazines and you will usually leave looking and feeling better than you did when you arrived. It’s win win. Remember the days when you might get a Friday blow-dry for the weekend ahead? Or a manicure while waiting for your highlights to take? Also, who will forget how much we missed the hairdessers and the wonderful miracles they perform when, during lockdown, they were totally forbidden to us? The hairdressing service is a gift. Many will confide their deepest secrets to their hairdresser and over the years I’ve had some of the best chats and received some of the best advice from hairdressers. They are truly mighty people.
Thanks to the fact that we were spared going to Level 5 – for now – (I have no idea what rock Leo was hiding under, but the entire country and it’s cousin was expecting a level 5) I got to go to my Friday appointment. It was needed on many, many levels. My hair needed the chop, my roots some magic and me, some TLC.
It’s an odd time, this Covid time. And odder still to me because I have absolutely zero to give out about, really. I mean, overall we’re doing OK. So much so that in some ways it’ll actually be hard to go back to the old, faster-paced way of doing things. Yet I’m feeling all the emotions.
So what’s my problem?
Well, even though we’re grand thank you very much, I have friends with stuff going on. And I really wish I could connect with them in more meaningful ways than messages and phone calls. Many I haven’t seen at all, and those I have, the lack of hugs and physical connection is getting more and more difficult to ignore and live with.
That lack of physical connection goes against every fibre in our bodies, because connection – on a whole heap of levels – is a big part of being human.
So the other day at the hairdressers, I was getting my hair washed by my lovely hairdresser and when she was putting in the conditioner she did that lovely thing where they put a towel under the back of your neck and they give you that lovely scratchy, soothing head rub. And there’s nothing to do and nowhere to go and you can smell the beautiful scents from the conditioner and it’s one of those wonderful comforts. The human touch, the thought to do it, the care. It’s a gorgeous thing, a little kindness.
And that’s why I ended up with tears streaming down my face the other day in Peter Mark, in Ennis. I can go to my lovely hairdresser and she can give me this loving touch and sense of human connection. How wonderful of her to do it and what a gift it is that I can appreciate it? That one act of connection was reminding me how connected we all are – physically, socially, emotionally, energetically – and how much we are missing those basic, daily interactions that were once part of our normal lives. To be forced to disconnect from your family and friends and neighbours and community is not natural. It’s really, really difficult. And it’s effects are far-reaching.
On top of that, as connected human beings – for better or worse – we get to feel empathy and all the sadness and loneliness and helplessness of others. Like there’s this huge, emotion-filled grid that we are all plugged into upon birth and right now it’s filled with more than it’s usual share of pain. So even when you feel you’re doing OK, this connectivity to the human grid keeps bringing you back to others and their struggles and Covid – the bad vibe that we can’t shake off our backs, that won’t go away, no matter how well our day happens to be going.
Human connection means that we feel it all.
Maybe it’s good to know that we aren’t doing any of this in isolation – the highs or the lows. We are all one part of something a lot bigger. A shared energy. A shared sorrow.
I’m just hoping that my connection to your pain, no matter how small, might ease it a little, you know? That’s my wish for today, X