Updated: Sep 10, 2018
A writer at heart, I'm also a hair stylist, teacher, energy worker, entrepreneur, philosopher, artist, and end-of-life companion, in different orders depending on the day. I guess you could say I moonlight.
In fact, I changed my name to Lune in honor of my ruling astrological 'planet' and the cyclical being that I so identify with. I live in the village of Catskill, New York, on the other side of the Hudson river from aptly named Hudson, where I'd originally moved from Brooklyn in 2015. In 2016 I opened a hair salon that offers people more than a hair service, but an opportunity to accept the hair they were born with, and wear the best version of it possible without having to fuss with much if any styling.
This blog is about the layers that exist underneath people's hair and their many dimensions, accessible to a stylist if we choose to interact with them, and how doing so has saved my life.
Having already developed this haircutting technique throughout high school without knowing it, when I finally went to beauty school in NYC a decade later, I discovered to my surprise just how different my approach was. My years of cutting friends' hair without any training had allowed me to explore the sculptural aspects of hair without the pressure of adhering to "professional standards," since I was convinced I'd never pursue hair styling as a career; I enjoyed it too much, and besides, I was going to be a journalist.
My friends were never the types to wash their hair a lot, let alone blow dry or style it. We generally preferred that effortlessly unkempt look (which we all know takes some committed work), textured with days' or even weeks' worth of natural oils built up to perfection. I don't even think I used a comb when cutting at first.
I would post up in front of my college dorm, endlessly smoking cigarettes and not doing my homework, and occasionally cutting hair right there at the picnic tables that were bolted into the concrete. As students passed by, they would inquire about my availability, and for donations of tobacco, pot, alcohol, or whatever else they had to offer I would schedule them in. When I moved to my first apartment sophomore year, I hung a sign on our back porch, reading "HAIRCUTS $8." I must have figured that people would simply give me $10 and call it a day with the tip easily thrown in.
The arc of my haircutting path was very organic. Every time I became overwhelmed with the demand for haircuts, I would have no choice but to raise my prices. Since dropping out of university after my second year, I had picked up three different restaurant jobs that, needless to say, took up the majority of my time. I loved them, though. When what precious free time I had started getting completely filled up with haircut appointments, I often considered simply stopping with the hair. But each time, somebody talked me out of it, incredulous that I would even imagine doing such a thing.
Never did I consider quitting any of my jobs. First of all, the more I cut hair, the less legal my transactions became. Technically, one really needs to have a cosmetology license, and a business license in order to do what I was beginning to do, which was cut a lot of hair and charge money for it. And I was certainly not going to go to school in order to acquire this license. I was living in rural Virginia at the time, and even when I eventually did look into programs in the area, I couldn't entertain the thought of any of them for long. By the time I felt more or less forced to make a big decision, my haircuts cost a whopping $40, which caused not only my clients anxiety, but created inner conflict in me, too.
Let me start from the beginning, though, which is usually the end of something else. In this case, it was the end of my mother or anyone else cutting my hair.
Sure, I’ve gone to a handful of hair salons over the years since the age of nine, when I took matters into my own hands. But only after I’d done as much damage as I was willing to do, as many times in a row as it took my hair to require the assistance of another person to “reset.” I can honestly say that I’ve never gone home from a haircut and not immediately taken scissors to my hair. I have canceled ensuing plans in order to get to my scissors as immediately as possible.
When I did sit in someone else's chair, I took note of the tools they used to try to thin out my dense, thick hair. I learned what not to do. My hair didn't respond well to any of the methods used, so eventually I gave up on it altogether and shaved my head when I was fifteen and living in Ankara. I remember my best friend taking me to a high-end salon and asking on my behalf for someone to buzz my head since I didn't own any clippers at the time and was shy with my Turkish. The men were all incredulous (women only worked in hair salons as body-waxers and stayed in the back, at least at that time) and stopped what they'd been doing to gather around and gape at the half-American girl with beautiful hair that none of them could imagine shearing that short. In fact, the guy who finally accepted refused to use the machine but instead gave me a very short haircut with scissors that wasn't exactly what we'd asked for. This was my first of a few disappointingly consistent experiences with the male hairstylist who favored his own version of what I wanted over my own requests.
I've never had hair below my chin since, and anytime I've attempted to grow it, I've never quite felt like myself, nor had anybody to assist me through all the awkward stages in the ways I knew my hair needed. But what cutting my own hair over the following eighteen years has provided me with was the foundation for Intuitive Dry Cutting. Feeling my way through a haircut based on what the hair has to say, and listening. For someone as lazy with her own hair as me, and with such opinionated hair, I required a haircut that allowed me to spend as little time as possible on it on a daily basis. The more I cut it based on what it wanted to do, the less I had to concern myself with whatever it was doing in between cuts.
If someone had told me back then that I’d open a hair salon at the age of thirty, I would have laughed. Honestly, even five years ago I wouldn’t have believed it. The way life works is a mystical and unpredictable thing, and that is my definition of faith.
Faith is the ability to open oneself to something far bigger than what we can possibly grasp with our linear minds, and trust that an infinitely complex process is working with us, to bring us exactly what we need to grow into our best selves.
Those who resist this idea may not ever have had something unexpected dealt them, and then later recognized that event as being a pivotal one in their personal growth, or maybe they just never quite reflected on the past from that angle. I, for one, am grateful to the turbulence I’ve experienced, for shaking me up just enough to seek answers beyond the readily available.
Usually, pivotal moments come with a degree of discomfort. Sometimes I wonder, if we embrace uncomfortable situations and even create them for ourselves from time to time, whether we can avoid some of the rug-out-from-under-our-feet incidents that seem to happen when someone needs a real knock to finally wake up to their greater destiny. Only recently have I developed a deep appreciation for Rock Bottom. Rock Bottom is when there doesn't seem to be any worse things can get, and only then is one capable of true surrender. At Rock Bottom we break apart into a million pieces, and so do our egos. I've created extreme discomfort for myself in a myriad of ways, from repeated substance abuse to austere 10-day meditation retreats. This spectrum is pretty characteristic of my journey thus far.
My life as far back as I can remember has been an oscillation between embracing a "higher path" connected to spiritual views, and one that would rather experience all that human life has to offer. I am learning to accept that I am someone who contains wholly paradoxical views inside of me, like holding a two-sided coin in my hand. Endlessly, I toss it up in the air, and look to see which side has landed face up as though I’ve never tossed it before. That is then the side I embrace for a period of time, as wholeheartedly as I’ve ever been able to embrace anything. It's an exhausting path, and a rewarding one. When I don't judge it, I am able to see its value most.
My thirties are proving very different than my twenties, thank goodness. Though I remain open minded, there are some lines I will no longer cross. I won't lie and I won't do hard drugs. I quit smoking three years ago, and I've learned that if I provide myself with a few critical things, I will probably be OK: a bathtub wherever I live with an adequate hot water supply; loud techno in the car on the way to work; a view of trees from the majority of my home's windows; time in the early mornings to write.
One thing, however, has remained consistent throughout my adult life: an ability to tap into some subconscious directive wisdom and go with that flow no matter what the circumstances. I'm not sure who to thank for this relationship with my gut, which I'm convinced has saved my life more than once. Perhaps my mother, who is similarly watery in her nature. In any case, this internal compass has led the way for me, taking me to NYC, back to Virginia, back to NYC, and then up the Hudson River, all in the last 8 years. It has emboldened me to take risks many people would have rationally (and maybe wisely) decided against. And with each outcome, I have greater trust for this mysterious force that I seem to naturally follow.
Intuitive Dry Cutting is about more than cutting hair. It's about tapping into something much larger than yourself and letting that take the reigns. Relentlessly digging deep inside yourself and allowing whatever you find to be honored and integrated in its own time.
Trusting that the larger process which preceded your bodily existence will go on after you go, and that our job while here is to develop into the best dance partners for the Universe that we possibly can. If you've ever danced, you know. It is in the moment that we lose ourselves to the music, in the movement, that we are found. The more fluid and receptive we can be to our partners, the less anybody will get hurt, and chances are better that spontaneous creativity can give birth to innovation.