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The Bad Haircut

motivation Apr 21, 2021

by Karen Eden


I had just landed my first TV anchor job at age 22 when I found what I thought was the perfect hairstyle. This was back when hair was bigger and hairspray was an absolute necessity. I couldn’t believe that I had to go all the way to Toronto, Canada, to find a hairstyle I actually liked. The giant poster was hanging there like an oversized invitation for me to come on in and get the latest fashion trend in haircuts.

At first, I was happy to sit in the chair and listen to the stylist talking in French, but after about 10 minutes, I started to panic. I’ve always had long hair, and he was taking off pieces all the way up to my ears. Then I thought, Surely, he knows what he’s doing. Besides, if I was to maintain a professional look for my new job, I could no longer don a long, free-flowing style.

Finally, the stylist was done. He spun me around to get a look in the mirror. “Oh, my God!” I exclaimed.

“You wanted the haircut on the poster, no?” he responded.

I had paid an enormous fee for that haircut, but I walked out of there absolutely stunned and fighting back tears.

All I can say to describe it is that it was very short on top and very long around my neck. I knew it was really bad when my then-husband looked at me coming out of the salon and didn’t say one word.

The next day, it looked even worse. I was already trying to figure out how to pull off this new look on television — even though the length on top was so short it couldn’t be styled. As we walked past the same salon, I stopped and looked at that poster again. I wondered, How could that style look so good on her and so bad on me?

That day, I learned the hard way that what looks good on somebody else isn’t always going to look good on me. The girl on the poster had a thinner, longer face than I did. Also, the image was photoshopped to make sure each and every hair was in place.

Although I’ve been a hard-style martial artist for 30 years, I have gained great appreciation for the soft styles. For instance, yoga is a practice that has a totally different philosophy than hard-style martial arts. There, you work with your body instead of forcing it, and there’s no heat or judgment if you have to modify a move to accommodate your personal needs.

I’ve been around long enough as a martial arts instructor to see elderly practitioners who were forced to kick higher than their bodies would allow. I’ve seen heavy kids who were reduced to tears while trying to do jump kicks and skinny kids who ended up the same while attempting difficult board breaks. I’ve come to realize that it’s all good, but to make it work, you need to work with what you’ve been given.

My own son, when testing for his second dan, was asked to do a flying side kick over three people who were bent over. He’s a 6-foot-3-inch, 290-pound football player. I knew it wasn’t going to happen, and I also knew I’d be putting those three students at risk.

“What break can you do that you feel is equivalent?” I asked him.

“I can break six stacked boards,” he said. That worked, and it worked with who he is and how he’s designed.

Well, my hair finally grew back out after months of getting creative. I got some stares from management at the TV station, but nothing drastic happened. Like many, I’m a unique individual who may not be able to wear the latest styles in hairdos and other things. But I can work with who I am and how I’m designed — and that’s a lesson well worth a really bad hair cut I once got in Toronto.


To contact Karen Eden, send an email to [email protected] or visit the Facebook group “The Eden Assignment.”


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