The past few months have been particularly difficult for me.
At the end of last year, just two days before New Year’s Eve, someone close broke up with me.
It is still rippling through me; affecting me in different ways. You know how, after a break-up you get triggered completely out of the blue? One moment, you fool yourself into believing this ‘mourning’ is over, and then their favourite song plays. Boom, you’re right back into that raw grief.
Don’t go believing this is a boyfriend or girlfriend break-up I’m talking about. Pfft. I’m fine with that.
It’s my beauty therapist who’s gone.
This could be the ultimate example of a first world problem, but let’s indulge my grief for the next 600 or so words.
It ended with this email she sent to all her clients.
To my valued clients,
It is with genuine sadness that I inform you that [I] will cease trading from 1 January 2017.
I am looking ahead to 2017 to seize new opportunities and a career change. There is a silver lining to any situation and I look forward to embracing the change.
I am very proud of what I achieved and the business growth, but most of all I feel so appreciative of all my supportive clients that have trusted me to be their beauty therapist.
Thank you so much for your patronage and friendship, you have made my experience truly worthwhile.
Okay, so I have changed her name because I don’t want Rosa to think that I’m taking this too hard.
But, her email was such a shock. A career change? Excuse me, Rosa, it kind of would have been nice for you share these personal details of your life with this client so I could ready myself? That would have been nice, Rosa.
Before I had scooted up to the beach for my Christmas break, she had just waxed and tinted my eyebrows. We had our normal life debriefs, discussing careers, dating, astrology, and whether Disney princesses were reasonable role models (that’s a whole other article).
That was one of the magical things about Rosa. Together, we had moved past the awkward small talk that normally occupies these types of appointments.
Quickly, we became friends (or, at least I thought so) and didn’t need to talk about the weather.
Dear Rosa, she was also there for so many firsts.
She was the first person to wax my eyebrows. Rosa gave me my first spray tan. She accepted that for ten minutes preceding the wax, I lay on the bed making her promise it wasn’t going to hurt that much.
The day before that spray tan I called her so panicked that it was going to be orange. I also brought up my discomfort with being completely naked.
“Abby, I promise you that you will not look like an Oompa-Loompa,” Rosa reassuringly told me. “And, as for the naked business, you don’t have to be. You can wear a strapless bikini if that suits you. Oh – but just buy a cheap one that you won’t mind has a spray tan on it.”
Rosa not only led me away from my minor beauty freak-out but made sure I didn’t ruin my good bikinis with a spray tan.
Again, she proved herself to be a gem in the rough.
I always trusted Rosa. She never accidentally waxed too much of my eyebrow off or left me walking out feeling embarrassed.
With Rosa, I thought I had something special.
It took me a couple of days to process her initial email. I didn’t want to seem needy and immediately call her to explain everything. Eventually, I got the strength and messaged this to her:
Hi there Rosa. I am so terribly upset you have moved on. My eyebrows are in equal shock and grief. Alas, I wanted to say that I am very excited for where you’re going next. Thanks for putting up with my complaints about plucking, baking for my birthday [yes, she did do this, with my favourite flavour] and always being a wonderful listener.
That was it. My leaving message.
Since those January days, I have recently started exploring the world of beauty therapists. Scouring the internet for someone akin to Rosa.
One was even so nice that when I explained my break-up, she perfectly understood. She said she might not be able to bake, but she would take care of me. Heal my wounds.
For now, I’m not sure I can love again so quickly. I don’t know if I can go through people ripping off more of my hair than I like or tinting my blonde eyebrows so dark they’d be brown for a year.
I don’t know if I can go through that agonising process all again.
But, you know, my eyebrows really do need a wax.
Abby Ballard is a writer, wonderer, and feminist, among other things. While she’s not busily putting pen to paper, you may find her hidden in a bookstore, on the road travelling, or passionately talking politics. If you want to discuss any of theses topics further, or losing a beauty therapist, you can find her on Twitter here.