Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Seeing both sides of a mistake

I messed up with my friend Joanne. A big, big mistake. Usually I think pretty highly of myself, but when I did this thing it felt so bad it ached in my heart. I wanted to take it back, to apologize, to try to make things right again. But what could I possibly say to her? I didn't know what I should do. I didn't know what I could say to make things right again.

When I make a mistake and it impacts someone else, my instincts tell me to push away. I'd do anything to avoid the conflict.


Luckily, the day after my disaster with Joanne, I got a haircut.

The stylist was working away, cutting and talking and cutting and talking and perhaps you can imagine what happened next. I looked away for one second and when I looked back, a large chunk of my hair was gone. It was on the floor, instead of on my head.

She put down the scissors and comb and stood behind me for a few minutes, holding my hair this way, turning my head back and forth. She said, "Um, give me a second here." I knew something was exceptionally wrong. She said, "Well, I cut this side a little bit farther than I meant to. I'm going to call Lucy and see what she can do with this. She has lots of experience. I'll be right back. "

I looked at my reflection and couldn't think for a few seconds. This girl, I asked this girl to cut my hair.  I ran over and over again in my mind what I had said to her at the start. Was I clear enough? I told her, "Long layers, face frame. Cut it up to here. " I remember holding my hand up to my shoulders, showing her. I turned my head to the side to look again. Yep, it's pretty short now, it's up to my ears on one side.

She came back and spoke, all in a rush. "Hah, yeah okay so I can't get Lucy but she's on break, she must be close by and she has to be back soon and I expect her back any minute and she's the expert and she'll be able to fix it and I'm so sorry. " She came over and turned my head to the side again. "She'll know what to do, she'll fix it so...so you don't look like you have a mullet. I'll make sure you don't have to pay for this. Don't worry, she'll be right back, I'm positive." Then she walked away and left me alone.

I immediately thought of this:

At that moment, it didn't matter all of the nice things that she said to me, or that we laughed at each other's jokes. All that mattered was there I was, with something I really, really didn't want staring back at me in the mirror.

Lucy, the other hairdresser did eventually come back and after some careful re-cutting, I no longer looked like a time-warp from 1986. It wasn't the haircut I asked for but it wasn't bad, either.

As I walked out, I was reminded of what had happened with Joanne. It occurred to me that this salon girl made a mistake too, but she handled it better than I did. I'm sure that this will be a problem when she faced up to it, maybe she'll have to lose pay or even worse. She was better than me, because she owned up to it right away. She admitted her mistake and tried to get it fixed. She immediately told me that I wouldn't be paying for any of the fees for the haircut. Those things were both nice. They didn't stop the consequences, but they made me feel better, somehow.


The next day I sent Joanne a message, I asked if I could talk to her. She agreed, and I called her up. 

I told her, "I've done what I can to fix this. I messed up, and as a result I broke trust in you. I'm so sorry for what I put you thorough." I thought of the stylist, and how it felt to be on the other side of a mistake. I said, "You trusted me, and I let you down. I'm sure that I don't know all of the effects this had on you, but I know how it feels to be let down by someone. "

Maybe one day she'll forgive me, maybe not. She seemed to take it well, so I have hope.


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