Do You Feel Heard?

By Melanie Bates

Do you ever just feel like no one hears you? As if you’re floating under the Pacific screaming “SHARK!” and the rest of the world is sunning themselves on the beach and watching their kids splash in the waves with sand on their arses?

Case in Point:

For the past few weeks my hair has looked like a particularly worn down coat of a buckskin mare who has been rolling around in the mud.  Sort of dingy blond with a dark brown stripe down the center.

See what I mean:


I do not exaggerate. The difference between the color of my roots and the rest of my hair was as stark as this little guy:


So I went in search of a new stylist as the last time I got my hair cut in Utah it resembled a Q-tip that has been forgotten in a travel bag for the past seven years – slightly yellowed, frayed off of the cardboard tip like the last wisp of cotton candy on the stick, and, not to mention, forlorn.

I found someone at a reputable salon here in Utah and made my appointment.


Me: I look like a buckskin mare (Googled stripe on mare’s back to show stylist).  I want to get rid of that and blend it with the rest of the blond and I’m not loving the orange/copper color in my hair; it’s too much and the colors are too cool. I look washed out.  And I’m REALLY trying to grow my hair out. I don’t know what I was thinking when I cut it off last summer. Mid-life crisis, I guess.

Stylist: (Chuckles) Sure. We can add in some warm tones and keep the light blonds and just shape up and trim.

Me: Perfect.

(Exit stylist as she prepares three bowls of color that all look exactly the same. Enter stylist.)

Note to self: Something is wrong. Where is the tinfoil? She’s using that big paintbrush to slop color right down my horse stripe. What’s happening? My 5 year old niece Adri paints better than that. It’s on my forehead, whatever color that is will stain my forehead and I have to go to a wedding tomorrow. (Hyperventilates)

Me: Can I ask what you’re doing?

Stylist: Have you never had color without tinfoil?

Me: No

Stylist: This is the easiest way to handle color like yours.

Me: (squirms in sticky leather seat)

As I exited the salon and glimpsed myself in full sun in my side view mirror, I was stunned to realize that I now look like the Heat Miser from “The Year Without a Santa Claus” (combined with a buckskin mare and a hog-nosed skunk.) My hair is blond with a streak of flaming orange down the center. Add to this the fact that she took a good two inches off of parts of my once-all-one-length-in-an-attempt-to-grow-it-out haircut and had wielded a razor like a whirling dervish, ensuring that after tomorrow’s first wash I’ll once again look like that flaming Q-tip of old.



I recognize that this is a first-world problem. Really, I do. But this blog isn’t just about vanity and wearing a hat for the next three months. I do have a larger point to raise here.

Last week I watched Oprah’s commencement speech to Harvard and it really struck me when she said that no matter who is on her show, from Presidents to rock stars to soccer moms, invariably at the end of the taping, in some form or fashion, they ask her if they did okay; if they were HEARD; if they were seen.

Isn’t that the truth? Isn’t that what we’re all looking for? Simply to be heard and seen from those we interact with? There have been many times in my life where I haven’t felt heard and yesterday was just one small glaring (literally) example.

And I’ve noticed that when I don’t feel heard I will keep saying the same thing over and over and over in an attempt to force someone, subconsciously, to hear me.

Yesterday, I told this stylist in a myriad of ways, how much I wanted my hair to grow out.

And I’ve heard others do this with me.  I’ll be having a conversation with someone and they’ll say the same thing again and again and in my mind I’m thinking “what are they doing? I get it.” But here’s the reality – they’re not feeling heard, seen or acknowledged by me. It doesn’t matter if I’ve heard them loud and clear, the point is that they don’t feel as if I’ve heard them. Have you had this happen to you and wondered what that’s about?

If we go back to the basics – back to Communications 101 – in those scenarios, wouldn’t it just be kind to repeat back to the person what we’ve heard them say to ensure that we get it – that we really do hear them? Maybe that’s why we feel so alone at times – so separate and cut off from the oneness – because, let’s be real, sometimes we aren’t really listening. Sometimes we’re playing Candy Crush on our smart phones while checking Facebook every 3.5 seconds and thinking about the Almond Joy pieces hidden next to our beds.

I sure do wish the stylist would have repeated my words back to me yesterday, “Okay, so you don’t want to look like Mr. Heat Miser reincarnated as a buckskin mare who coupled with a hog-nosed skunk and you regret the decision to cut off all of your hair during a 700 kelvin hot flash. Got it.”


By Melanie Bates


Genoveva M.
Genoveva M M4 years ago


Sandy D.
Sa D4 years ago

Dear Mel B, I found this article amusing & humorous
Being heard is different to being listened to. Striving hard to make your point across is an exercise in futility where the person hearing you, does not understand you and therefore does not listen to ( carry out ) your wish.
Best form of communication occurs where the speaker verbalises his exact thoughts in a manner that the listener understands it the way the speaker thought it.
Alas! How often does it happen due to our time availability or physical/psychological/emotional/social/intellectual limitations??

Fi T.
Past Member 4 years ago

Pay attention to one's words and thoughts

Jess No Fwd Plz K.
Jessica K4 years ago

I think a lot of times people enter conversations with preconceived notions of the other people involved. Then, anything you say goes through that filter, no matter how much you try to explain otherwise. Preconceived notions give the illusion that you have a roadmap on how to deal with people, and it's pretty hard to give up that security blanket. Thanks.

Summerannie Moon
Summerannie M4 years ago

Terrible and that h/dresser will be in deep trouble from not listening. I havent been back since and seeing most people want to know who is my h/dresser is and their number, I guess thats saying something about my own hair cutting ability, huh?
But its not these two examples its across the board and also children too as people dismiss them as.....they're too young, they wouldnt know attitude when in actual fact, kids are smart as........People with disabilities are poorly responded too as well and use a walking stick omg and abled bodied people think youre deaf so they shout b/c those people also think you have lost your memory and ability to comprehend. And so it goes on
Its also a problem when seeing youre own GP who wont listen to you too. Like when you say this and they interpret it a totally other way. Oh...yes *sigh* its very frustrating indeed.

Summerannie Moon
Summerannie M4 years ago

I repeated what i had asked /said and also to another person and all of them understood completely what i was on about. The store except the person I sort of know, actually explained properly. Finally I got to speak to the store manager of the store I visited and told her what had happened. She said what did SHE tell you..I said and she said well hmmm that wasnt good was it. She listened and I felt validated. Holy moley that took something like over 24hrs and some.
Im was a hairdresser owner and I listened to all with a great return basis. I decided to go to a h/dresser I have been going too on and off for a long time. I rarely go as I cut my own hair. This day I was hand balled to someone i didnt know and said to her what I wanted. I chilled out...big mistake. She dried my hair and she got the mirror to show me...(the hair cut only) and i was practically shorn. Her big mistake was 'DO YOU LIKE IT?????'' I said'' oooooh my gosh....what on earth? you may as well shave my head its so short!' The boss heard it as he usually cuts my hair and I said i ll have to wear a hat! They discounted me I havent been back. I said to her as a parting a hairdresser of many decades, you really do need to listen with ears and eyes. she looked stony faced b/c she thought what she had done was brilliant..geez it was actually lop sided, unevenly cut, no style anymore and it took something like 9 months for my hair to look decent again. I was shorn to the bone. Terrible and that h/

Summerannie Moon
Summerannie M4 years ago

Every single person needs to be heard and the other have the respect give to the speaker and vice versa. In customer service I rarely meet any that are any good. Went to a famous craft store here the other day (no names no pact drill) and I was to get furnishings for my house. I decided on this company for various reasons, met the manager of the section... a lovely lady actually and she suggested to return some measurements. Anyway a friend did them and so I returned to the store and met that manager who intro'd me to the lady of that dept. No matter what i said she looked :-| but with bigger eyes looking like a deer in headlights. I went on and on about what was involved, what should I do and what she could recommend and perhaps show me all the choices on display. Nada! I even took photos and showed her too. NADA and cast a fleeting glance. She continually said...I ll book you in. Well down the track I made the appt. I was so frustrated and the guy to come and show me what was available etc I had to ring another store and welll it goes on. In the end when speaking to the lady of another store of whom I slightly know she said that X aka the man visiting is excellent and so round and round and round I was tossed going from one person to the next and all the while Im thinking Im speaking a foreign language. So I repeated what i was asking to a friend and by this time my BP was 220/120 and ready for a heart attack /stroke. I repeated what i had asked /said and also to another pe

PrimaAWAY B.
PrimaAWAY B4 years ago

The animals were cute....

As someone else commented; "Everyone needs to feel heard"

I wish for even one day I was really listened to and understood. I was always the one that listened to everyone elese and still do even though I need someone now. I have never been listened to or heard a day in my life.

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen4 years ago

Thank you :)

B Jackson
BJ J4 years ago

Have said for years, "Nooo, nobody ever listens to MEE".

Barbara L. & Robert H. - thanks for the great laughs!!