How long does someone get to impress? A few seconds? Minutes? Is it a verbal thing? Or can they be written off on a physical sense...not making the grade without a word even being spoken?
10 years ago I was given a chance by Annette that most people wouldn't be handing out. I was a 19 year old girl who was feeling incredibly exhausted and brain dead the day Annette was sat in my salon chair. The idea of asking another person 'what are you getting up to this weekend' sent chills of boredom down my spine. So instead, the creative inspiration that spilled from my lips was 'If you could be killed with any weapon what would you choose and why?'
She didn't get up. This should've been my first character clue.
Hindsight (and, thankfully, a lot of growth in the area of my personal skills) tells me that perhaps this wasn't the best opening line for connecting with a client. Annette not only stayed in her chair (!) she had the conversation with me. We discussed the options, brainstorming which would be the best weapon....clearly giggling our heads off at the randomness of the topic.
Somewhere in the middle of all of it though, she got to meet me. A girl who was acting far from perfect by all sorts of customer service and societal standards, but a girl whose heart was actually still in the right place. A girl, who has then over the next decade, been able to be an active part in Annette’s life, using my skills to 'Create Annette’. When asked for the Celebrity Next Door Project what makes her feel confident Annette said her hair plays a huge part in her confidence, thanking me for creating this for her.
I wonder what this last decade would've been like for me without Annette in it? I wonder what hers would've looked like without me?
Knowing how much I look forward to her visits; having heard all of the encouraging words Annette has spoken over my life; looking back over all of the wisdom and knowledge she has shared with me and even simply just the joy of her smile and the twinkle in her eye that Annette brings walking through our salon door, I'm so incredibly grateful that she didn't write me off that day. As a hairdresser, I'm thankful for this amazingly fun client frequenting my chair; as a human I'm blessed to know her and have her influence in my life.
One might argue that she remained in my chair because she was paralysed with fear for what I would do next...after all, I did have a pair of scissors in my hand! You would only need 5 minutes with her in person though to see her reasons are much deeper than that. From the minute she entered the salon Annette had made a decision...a decision to accept me, a decision to welcome me into her life. No, she didn't do it because she saw 'that one girl' and thought she's ok to let in. She chose to accept me because Annette lives and breathes this heart throughout all aspects of her life. She chooses to treat everyone she meets with this kind of acceptance.
You can see it in her hair.
There are no boundaries with what I'm allowed to do; she simply lets me do my thing. A lot of the time Annette will even turn up handing me a bag of bright colours (ones she can then top up at home) excitedly telling me 'have a play!' That's my only instruction! She allows me to do my thing, knowing she will accept whatever I create...because that's who she is.
Annette and I couldn't be more opposite...hairdresser and scientist; Christian and Atheist; straight and gay. By societal standards we shouldn't get along, or at the very least should only have shallow conversations....yet here she stands, one of my most treasured people. A woman who knows more about me than most: a woman who has encouraged me and helped me grow as a person, even within our very different beliefs. A woman who I think is one of the most beautiful people you could ever meet.
We have each been blessed in so many ways by knowing each other. I can't help but think though how many people are missing out on relationships like these.
Society is so good at looking at a person and making decisions almost instantly as to whether they will accept the person or not. We decide if we will let a person into our life, if we will allow their thoughts to influence ours or not, we even decide if we think they are beautiful or not; all within seconds.
How much beauty are we shutting out with this headspace?
What would our world look like if everyone realised that not one of us actually has all of the answers? That not one of us has the right to tell another person that how they are choosing to live is right or wrong? Life is simply a journey, one we are all on, all taking the journey at our own pace. It's a journey full of discoveries and mistakes, that's why it's fun! Because we ALWAYS continue to grow. You can't help someone skip a section of their journey, it's theirs to take!
We can all find something in any of the people around us that isn't 'perfect' by our standards, just as those around us can find it within us. It's a fact of life we will never escape as there is actually no such thing as the perfect person.
There is only perfect love.
Life's target isn't about seeking perfection, it's about seeking love. A pure love that knows how to love THROUGH the imperfections. The point isn't to determine what’s right or wrong, the point is to chase LOVE, in all of its forms.
People are placed in our lives to grow our hearts and our characters in the process. They are there to test us, to train us, all the while cleansing the 'ugly' within us.
How many of us acknowledge the lessons? How many of us are growing at each opportunity put in front of us? The people who you struggle with are the ones sent to help you grow. Grab onto them and don't let go until YOU GROW to a place where you can then love them. A pure love that simply accepts them for who they are.
Instead of shutting people out, what if we all had the courage to allow the things that challenge us to instead become the trainer of our beauty? Of our character? Of our capacity to accept and love?
Annette's heart is one of the most loving, caring, encouraging and loyal hearts you will ever meet. The most beautiful character within Annette? Her ability to accept. She doesn't try to change you. She simply makes the choice to love you. She chooses to get to know YOU. She chooses to allow you to be yourself. She chooses to love you regardless of how you line up with her beliefs and values.
And that's where her beauty is born.
Nicole, our talented Photographer, has smashed it with this one, showcasing Annette in her truest, raw form. Our happy, loving, enthusiastic scientist who welcomes anyone with open arms.
Thank you Annette for allowing us to explore your gorgeous character. Looking forward to another decade of doing life with you.
(Over the years we have created so many looks for Annette they are too numerous to show them all. Click here to see most of the ones that have been created since the start of All For Mary. Keep watching as we continue 'creating Annette')
All For Mary - Creative Director
Take a look at all of Annette's images here.
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