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Being beautiful: Of Minnie Mouse, gospel songs, and connecting in a disconnected world

 

David Creel

 

As for New Year's resolutions, I plan to eat another cupcake and put off painting the garage a few more days. Upon reflection, life is far too precious to refrain from simple pleasures or to agonize over mundane tasks. My resolution is to give myself the best gift ever and live more in the present.  

 

The tenth of January is my beautiful niece Shelby Jade's big birthday, when she will turn 21. When I was that age, I had just finished my first year working as a young stylist at McRae's salon in Cloverleaf Mall way down in Hattiesburg. Young, na├»ve and very skinny, I blew out the candles on my cake, poised to take on the world with a bang, bob and all shades of beautiful. Following in her uncle's footsteps, Shelby Jade is halfway through beauty school and often texts me with questions: "Will it ever get easier to do a man's haircut around the ears? When you highlight, do you weave or slice?" It warms my heart as I smile and then give her the best advice I can -- never give up.  

 

Of course, what I'm truly thinking is how not so long ago this young woman was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed toddler who sat in my lap while I put her hair in a Minnie Mouse ponytail or curled it with a curling iron before church.  

 

Time flies. Just a few days ago, I was giggling like a child myself as my great niece Arley Justine, age almost 2, ran around the Christmas tree wearing her Minnie Mouse costume with twinkling high heels. I think the plush Minnie that is as big as she is might have been her favorite gift, and I recall only a week before standing in line for one hour at the toy store just to get two giant Minnie Mouse gift bags for this occasion.  

 

Does she have me wrapped around her finger or not? One month from now she will be the belle of the ball at an extravagant birthday party with fabulous pink and purple frills, I'm certain. I will be present because I'm in charge of bringing the teapots and teacups.  

 

 

 

Let's take our time 

 

I think we live life too fast, too hard. Children sit with eyes glued to iPhone, iPad or iTouch, communicating through texts, Facebook and Twitter while listening to Spotify or Pandora from earphones and Instagramming everything. And to be honest, I'm "guilty" of some of this fixation myself. It's a "connected" world we live in, but in more important ways I fear we are perhaps more disconnected. I just want more time in the day, more moments with my Shelby Jade and Arley Justine.  

 

And then there's my sweet mama, who will be 74 next week, celebrating another year of triumph over cancer. Of all the gifts she opened on Christmas Day, the one that made her light up from the inside was a pink Minnie Mouse watch she had "oohed and aahed" over on one of our trips to the mall this past year. I guess the little ones in our family get it honest! 

 

My mama has taught me the valuable lesson of savoring every moment because tomorrow is a gift, not a promise. I was saddened to find the final story of one of my beautiful clients in the obituaries this week, and I thought of my mama, because the three of us were laughing together not too long ago in the salon. I remember as though it was yesterday -- while I worked on Mayme's bob, Mama was tickled over her new nail polish color from the OPI vintage Minnie Mouse collection. The two made plans to get together in the new year to listen to gospel music.  

 

In 2013, I'm having another cupcake, sending my nieces' handwritten birthday cards, and going to church sometime soon with Mama to sing from an old hymnal ... and I'm going to try to find the beauty in slowing down.

 

Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at beautifulwithdavid@gmail.com.

 

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