A prime example of this? When I was about 9 years old, I decided that I absolutely had to have the same hairstyle as one of my television “heroes.”
Like my understanding of reality and consequences, my addiction to all-things-entertainment began at a young age, too. The inspiration for previous hairstyles came from Nancy Drew books, Punky Brewster, and – believe it or not – the game Connect Four, when I asked my mom to cut my hair “diagonally.” Yes, I was the four-year old who knew what diagonally meant, and articulated that I needed a diagonal haircut in an effort to subtly hint to my parents how much I needed to own that board game.
My newest hairstyle obsession came from one of the greatest TV shows ever, a fact confirmed that George Clooney used to star on it. Yep, The Facts of Life. It had a catchy theme song, a girl who rode a motorcycle like a total badass, and the oh-so-exotic boarding school in Peekskill, NY.
It’s funny that the I didn’t want Jo’s haircut, even though she was my favorite character. Nope, I wanted Tootie’s.I cannot emphasize enough what a bad idea it was for a girl like me, with thin, stringy Irish hair to ask a hairdresser for the Tootie. But did anyone stand in my way? My mom had no problem with this – she printed out the picture and took me to the hairdresser. Did the hairdresser intervene? A little, but I was an adamant 9-year-old ballbuster who knew what she wanted, dammit.
After minutes of hemming and hawing, my hairdresser Josie got down to it: I would need to perm the top half of my hair to make it curly and leave the back long. And that’s what she did. I sat in the salon for hours while my hair was chemically treated, cut, shaped, teased and sculpted. And of course it looked just like Tootie’s, but on a Caucasian 9-year old girl. Which, as it turns out, is the nice way to say it was a super demented mullet.In retrospect, I like that my mom and dad let me make my own mistakes and learn from them. It’s helped to make me the person I am today. I might screw up, but I’ll own up to it and – hopefully – learn from the mistakes I make. This is a quality that I find increasingly rare in Corporate America.
Nobody’s perfect. We all have ideas of how we want things to work out, but we can’t control everything. Sometimes we make bad decisions. Given how rushed and overloaded everyone is anymore, it’s not surprising. Sometimes things that are out of our control spin out of control. As Andre 3000 says, “You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.”
I like that my parents helped me to realize that there’s nothing wrong with making decisions – you can’t be afraid to make a choice and go for it.
Sometimes it works out, like when you take a gamble and buy a house in an “up-and-coming” neighborhood, only to have it transform into the Best. Neighborhood. Ever. (At least for now, anyway.)
And sometimes it doesn’t, and you end up with a crappy job, or a demented mullet, or eyebrows that are way too thin, making you look like you’re completely surprised for much of your junior year in college.