I totally understand you, I really don't want anyone else touching/cutting my hair haha because most of the time it will get messed up.
I will tell you some experience I had with going to a hair salon, they exactly told me the same thing: My hair needed to be blow it straight before they could cut it. That is bulls****! Really, that is not true. But I didn't know that yet that time. Anyway, they cut my hair, I didn't like it. First of all, it was too short, it became very dry and it just looked awful.
After that, I started to do my own trims, but it's a lot of work so I actually don't trim my hair that often. Then, via a friend of mine I got the adress of a hairdresser because I was explaining to her that trimming my hair is a lot of work and time consuming. When she gave me the phone number, I was hesitant and I actually did not do anything with it. Then one time, my mom went to the same salon (My mom has a looser curl pattern than me and way shorter), she was really satisfied with it. So eventually, I decided to go there with my cousin (more or less the same curly hair). They washed my hair, condition as well and then I asked them if they would blow dry my hair and she looked at me like, no..why? They just cut it totally wet and I just styled my hair after as I usually do every day. It was cut so nice, just the way I liked it and not too short.
The salon I went first where I did not like it was an all European salon and they said they had experience with overall hair (straight, curly and kinky) obviously they had not.
Throughout I also went to salons who specialized in African American hair and mixed textures but with most of them I was not satisfied as well because I have CURLY hair and most of the way they treated my hair as KINKY.
The last salon I went (still go) and where I was very satisfied was a salon with overall hair types experience but they are a moroccan salon and they are very experienced with curly hair, because they know curly hair. A lot of women go their with Curly type 3 hair, because a lot of Moroccan women have type 3 curly hair. I was, I still am very satisfied with that salon and the hairdressers because they actually know curly hair and in addition, they understand that, as you said before, it is not just hair, it is a part of you, it is important.
So, I totally understand that you are afraid to go, because I would be if I were you and I would probably not go and look for another salon until I was absolutely sure I would be happy with my choice
(BTW I more or less have the same ethnic background, Part Native American, White and Black)