Day Six: A Character-Building Experience
Today’s Prompt: Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?
Hello friends, welcome again to another session of blogging.
I have been blessed with thick black hair, that grows quickly and i need to have it cut every 5 weeks. I usually go to the First Choice Hair Cutters to get it cut. For as long as i can remember, i have always worn my hair short and each time the answer to the question is the same when asked : and what would you like me to do today” “As many layers as you can give me and cut it short, take about an inch off”. However, depending on who cuts my hair, is it a left handed person? or is it a right handed person? is it a younger stylist? or an older person? the outcome is always different.
So on this particular day, a few months ago, after work i go in to get my hair cut. After hanging my coat, i go up to the registration desk and a lady who has tatoo covered arms and legs, ask me the usual questions, what is your name? did you need a wash? I give her the requested information and then she directs me to go right to her station. I had never seen so many tatoos on a person. Thoughts were racing in my mind, thinking of how opposed i was to my own children asking me for permission to get tatoos, how i reminded them that when tatoos were very visible, i felt it would be unprofessional, and might come in the way of them getting hired in a good company. However, it was interesting to see all these drawings on this person Lets call this person Emma. Emma was a bit on the heavier side, she had long curly hair which was blond. It had black highlights in it. Again, my mind is racing and i whisper a prayer, “god please let this be a good hair cut”. Emma adjusts my chair, puts the protector round my shoulders and asks the usual what would you like me to do today” and my response is the usual “As many layers as you can give me and cut it short, take about an inch off”.
Emma starts cutting my hair, and starts making small talk, we pass some pleasantries, but then the topic drifts to children. I tell her about my kids and then she starts telling me her story, and i was blown away. Emma has three children, all below the age of 10, and two of the three are autistic. My jaw drops, I guess it must have showed, because she immediately said, do not worry, i will make sure my children are self sufficenet just as i am. Now i am truly curious and want to get to know this person more, i had judged her for the tatoos on her hand, but i was beginning to feel her strength and determination and was truly intrigued. Emma proceeded to tell me that she grew up with learning disabilities. However, she then proceeded to tell me about her mother, who was also a hair stylist insisted that on turning 16 Emma had to learn a trade, and she mentioned she was really hard on her, but at the end of the course, Emma came out with flying colours and has been working ever since as a hair stylist. She then tells me that this is just her part time job and she is also a personal support worker. My jaw really drops. I just say wow!.
At age 21 Emma got pregnant and her mother, once again insisted that just being a hair dresser would not be enough to support the family, so she insisted that Emma sign up for a personal support worker class. Because of Emma’s learning disabilities, the mother signed up for the class as well, just so she could help Emma study. Thanks to her mother’s help, Emma aced the class. Now comes baby number two and this child is autistic, then in a few years baby number three and autistic. I am listening with tears in my eyes. How unfair life is. How do you cope. She goes on to tell me all her coping strategies, but also how she had changed this negative into a positive.
She said that she has refused to put these children into a special school, but has put them in a regular school while being able to secure one on one training. She mentioned all the things they do together and how at the end of each day, she asks them one question…. are you happy, if she gets the answer in the positive, she feels that it was a good day.
She started a facebook group when she blogs i guess her daily challenges and how she overcomes them, she was very proud to tell me, how her stories have helped other mothers cope and how she gets strength and courage from this blog. I kept listening in awe, at this women, gave her my few words of encouragement and thanked the universe silently for reminding me, never to judge someone by their appearance, because you never know their story unless you take time to listen for in the words of Alan Alda “Listening is being able to be changed by the other person.”
Cheers! to a strong women Emma and a loving mother.