My hair has always been long and thick. I mean, I hear when I was a baby I was a baldie, but for as long as I can remember it has been a distinguishing feature of mine. I would get angst about cutting off a few inches and the shortest I ever had it is just below my shoulders.
During my long recovery I have spent a lot of time alone in my room, and since there are only six seasons of Gossip Girl, that gave some good thinking time. At some point I came to the realization that I had never really emotionally dealt with my thyroid cancer. I had my thyroidectomy and a few weeks later was back in surgery for my colon so there wasn’t a whole lot of time to process (if you need a reference for my unusual medical history visit A Brief Timeline of Crazy.)
But I started feeling this need to somehow acknowledge what I had been through. So I came up with a plan- I was going to cut off all my hair and donate it. It was going to be a big dramatic gesture and I was going to feel all self-sacrificing and noble like Jo in Little Women. I told some friends and family about this plan and they were all like, “okaay, maybe you should take a minute to think about this cause you are hanging onto your sanity by a thread at the moment and the other day when I asked if you could write an email you flung yourself on the bed, covered your head with a pillow and said it was just too much to deal with. So I’m not saying don’t do this, but maybe wait until you aren’t so physically and emotionally fragile.”
Well, those might not have been their exact words but I got the point. A dramatic hair change can bring up a lot of emotions. So I thought about it for months. And I came up with a list of reasons that I was sure I wanted to do it:
- I am extremely grateful, I survived cancer without having to loose my hair to chemo.
- I have a lot of hair and it grows quickly, but my donation could really make a difference to a woman who is going through treatment right now.
- Getting rid of my hair is symbolic for me of letting go of some of the pain, depression, and trauma that I have suffered in the past few years.
- It feels appropriate, like a new start. By changing my look I am celebrating the stronger person I have become.
- I still get to feel like Jo, or that woman in the story we all had to read in ninth grade who cuts off her hair to buy her husband a watch or something… anyway, I love big dramatic gestures!
So yesterday I did it! My friend Chad Cline at Cline Salon chopped off fourteen inches of my hair and I am now rocking a really cute bob!
And I love it, I feel lighter and free and hopeful and ready to start a new chapter of my life! I am sending in my ponytail to Pantene Beautiful Lengths (in partnership with the American Cancer Society) and it will be used to make a wig for a woman who has lost her hair to cancer. How cool is that? If you get a wig from the Cancer Society’s wig banks it could be made from my hair, just treat it well- it needs a lot of conditioner.
If this has inspired you to donate your hair too, fantastic! Let me know and we will be short hair buddies. If you have ever gotten a wig from the banks, I would love to hear your story too. If you don’t have enough hair and want to throw 5 or 10 or 1,000 bucks at your favorite cancer charity, great! If you just read this and think I am amazing and want to be my friend, visit me on facebook and like My Super Crazy Life for more awesomeness (you can check out a video of the haircut) And if you just want to take a minute and think about someone you know who is struggling with cancer right now, or someone you lost, or a person who is just now getting their diagnosis and trying to figure out what to do, that’s cool too… although you should probably still like me on facebook!