In the new year I officially started my "new" life at hair school. It was way more intense than most people give it credence to be. The physicality demanded on the job was one thing to get used to, the creative another, but it was the science that was the most intense for this girl. Anyone who thinks of hair stylists as being dumb, should take a day and walk in their shoes! I'm sure that being a chemist is a hard thing, but what about being a chemist that affects the thing that people hold dearest? Their appearance! It's not easy, sure we make it look easy, but it really isn't.
I was keeping up and doing pretty well. I hadn't even disclosed to anyone at the school that I had MS, which back then was a BIG win. Being the natural competitor that I was/am I decided to enter into the hair school fantasy competition for the opportunity to compete at the provincial level at the BIG show, the ABA. I worked my butt off to win the in-house competition. It took me probably about 40 hours, in the 48 hours we were given, to get it to the point that I was happy with it. It was all done on a mannequin head so I didn't have to worry about the fatigue level of a model, which meant that I could go on ignoring mine...
When we started to get ready for the provincial competition it got intense, fast. I was still working at the health club while I was going through school. I never slowed down at all through any of this to be honest. (CHAMPION!) I had to keep up and in fact I think I thought I had to "out-do" because of the fact that I had MS; not despite it or anything, but because of it.
The owner of the school was demanding, she liked to win more than I did it seemed. I was taken out of my "normal" classes to work on my vision without distraction. STRESS!!!! My hands started to go numb. I was dropping stuff, left right and center. It was embarrassing. More than that, I knew that seeing this competition through would probably mean I wouldn't get through the rest of my commitments. It became obvious that I had to talk to the owner of the school.
I made the appointment and sat down across the desk. I could feel myself shaking, I was actually going to tell her my secret... I felt my face go red as we started to speak and I told the woman across the table the bad news, that despite all of the time she had invested in me, believing in me, I wasn't going to be able to see the competition through. I saw the look of disappointment on her face as I took another big breath, my voice became shaky and tears came to my eyes as I met and locked in on hers. "You see, I have MS and I'm noticing that the stress of all of this is really effecting me." HEAVY PAUSE... I was full out crying at this point, as I continued to reiterate my apologies.
My mentor took a moment as she took in all of the information I'd placed on her and the look on her face softened as she said; "I always knew there was something special about you Shara and now I know what part of that is. Thank you for trusting me with this and please don't give the competition or disappointing me another thought."
WOW! That is not how I saw that going... I hugged my favorite teacher on the way out of the office and headed home. I was overcome with emotion having said "it" out loud and being met so graciously in response. It was a major moment in my disease and it really was a moment that made it okay for me to disclose going forward; I had nothing to apologize for; I was "special".