Last week as I was scrolling through my twitter feed, I came across a link to a commencement speech delivered by Jim Carrey. Something he said has resonated in me ever since… “so many of us choose our path out of fear…disguised as practicality.”.
As you all know, I am the manager of a Salon/retail shop. I am also a wife, a mother and a daughter. I am also a person who used to think I was making the responsible choices, the practical choices when it came to my life decisions, be it a new hair style, a new hair color, what car to buy, what job to take, hell…even when was the proper time to introduce my child to the horror movie genre. Since entering my forties and getting the stupid cut out (hysterectomy) I have come to realize most of my decisions were not based on practicality. They were based on fear of judgement, fear of ridicule, fear of non acceptance. They were made by fear, disguised as practicality. ( I will be forever grateful to Jim Carrey for putting into words a thought that I could not articulate). I am also a person who no longer allows fear to make my decisions and am here to tell you that you also can be such a person.
Everyday at the shop, I am sad to say, I hear someone, man , woman or child – take your pick, give up and give into fear, disguised as practicality. A few people stand out in my mind.They have since become customers of the shop and some have become clients of our Salon. Here are their tales.
A woman came in the shop and stood staring at the display of the Babyliss Miracurl. (an awesome styling tool – full head of curls in 10 minutes!). I asked her if she had any questions or if she needed a hand finding something. She let me know that she had always wanted to have curly hair. I asked her if she wanted to try our demo model to which she said “I better not. I have been told in the past that curls will make my face look fatter than it already is. …and people would just think I am trying to look younger than I am.”. So I asked her “Do you think that your face will look fatter?”. She said no. So I told her to go ahead and curl her hair and not give anyone else’s negative opinions a second thought. Then I pulled my hair back to the side and showed her how I shaved the underside of my hair…because I like it. She smiled and bought a curling iron.
A gentleman came into the shop. He asked me if anyone else was in the shop because he wanted to speak to me about his receding hairline and didn’t want anyone else to know about it. I let him know it was just him and I. He let me know that he had been concerned about his hair loss for a while, but thought trying to do something about it would make him seem vain and that he would be seen as an old man wasting his money. I reassured him that it was not vain – wanting to be happy and wanting to like your reflection is not vain, he was not wasting his money – Nioxin is an award winning system to help prevent hair loss and promote a healthy scalp and that he was not old – 100 is old, not 62. We spent 20 minutes going over the products and I showed him their website. He thanked me for my professionalism, and for not laughing at him, like others before me had done. He left with product in hand and a spring in his step.
A young woman came in the shop to buy some shampoo. We got to chatting and she told me how she had a chance to move out west and go to school. I congratulated her and asked when she was leaving. She said she wasn’t going to go. I asked her “Why not?”. She told me that she didn’t know anyone out there and wouldn’t know how to get around the city. I asked her “In a perfect world…would you go?” to which she said “Yes.”. I told her “There’s your answer. You gotta go. You will meet people. You can use the GPS on your phone to find your way around.” to which she smirked a little. I reminded her this is the perfect time to go and try something for herself – no kids, no marriage, no mortgage, no ties. I reminded her, she can always come back. I am happy to say, she came in last week to stock up on her favorite hairspray, in case they don’t have it in Vancouver.
Ladies and gents, it’s time to become a little more impractical. It is time to let go of the fear of the unknown, the fear of judgement, the fear of ridicule. It is time to remove all the excuses from your mind’s itinerary – the excuses that shout; What will people think? What will the neighbors say? I can’t because of the kids, I can’t because of my parents, I am too old, I am too young, I can’t. …we all have ’em. It’s time to begin listening for the whispers of; I can. Go for it. Try. …those whispers are there. Once you remove the shouts, and remove the practicality, remove the fear, the whispers are heard.
If I was being practical, I wouldn’t be telling you this tale, I wouldn’t be married to the love of my life, I wouldn’t be the mother to a fantastic and beautiful daughter, I wouldn’t be the manager of a Salon/retail shop, I wouldn’t be me. I would be the version of me that fear dictated…and quiet frankly, it just isn’t practical.