Not that you needed me to remind you. Everyone is well aware of the potential of the first new day of another new year. Come January first, gyms and malls and minds are filled with determination and excitement. And I'm no exception. I decided to finally conquer a lifetime of irrational fear with a single and rather mundane yet benevolent act. I got my hair cut. Sixteen inches of it to be exact, which was then donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths which works directly with the National Cancer Society to create wigs for women battling the big C.
But wait, why not Locks of Love? Although I love the alliterative name and their brand awareness is much higher, I was warned by a friend to research them first and subsequently read this article on Forbes that made me find a more transparent alternative.
Let me explain why this haircut is such a big deal for me. When I was about five, I fell asleep simultaneously chewing gum and watching cartoons. When I woke up, the gum had migrated from my mouth to my hair and made itself a sticky new home. I tried to pull it out and when that didn't work, I grabbed a pair of Minnie Mouse scissors and literally took matters into my own hands. (Every little girl ends up cutting her hair our of curiosity or catastrophe at some point or another, right?)
I'm not sure whether my mom first discovered an abandoned chunk of blonde hair and bubblegum or me with my mangled mane first, but either way this event ended with a trip to a salon. I still remember the woman who was supposed to cut me a happy hair ending. Her name was Angie and she was chubby and had long, brown, crimpy, permed hair and super bangs in all of their late 80s/early 90s glory. I begged her to cut as little as possible as I watched her in the mirror, listening not to me but into a spirally-corded phone that was jammed in between her right ear and shoulder.
Well I ended up with the worst haircut in the history of haircuts. It was some half-assed variation of a mullet with three perpetually awkward layers of hair. I didn't hate my hair, my hair hated me. I was emotionally scarred for life and hightailed it out of the salon in tears. I refused to get a haircut for the duration of elementary school.
When I did finally decide it was time for a trim in middle school, mostly because peer pressure and puberty and not wanting people to think I was feral, I only sacrificed an inch or two. For the next several years, it was nothing but long, straight styles with the shortest layers never coming within field goal range of my shoulders. Once, in my early twenties, I experimented with bangs and even had some shoulder-length layers. But then quickly reverted to the same old coif.
So I was emotionally and irrationally attached to my hair for the better part of three decades. I got the idea to cut and donate my hair during my recent travels to Asia. I was inspired by Buddhist monks who shave their heads which helps them detach from individual, physical appearance. And also I was kind of tired of dealing with it! By this time, my hair had grown obnoxiously long past the point of hippie and mermaid and was inching past my waist.
I finally taught myself to French braid while I was in Sri Lanka and India so that helped me deal with my hair until I got home. I suppose I could have cut it during my travels but I wanted my hair to finish that whole journey too. My romanticized idea is that my globe-trotting tresses become part of a wig that encourages a woman battling cancer to travel somewhere she's always want to go, herself.
And as for my new style, I love it! It's lighter and bouncier and makes me feel happier. Donating the hair-formerly-known-as-security-blanket turned out to be a literal weight off my shoulders. It's the most amazing feeling when you can help yourself and help others at the same time. Shout out to Pink the Beauty Boutique for cutting and donating my hair.
Now that I'm home for a few weeks, I'm not sure what comes next, which is the exciting part! The only thing I know is that this is the first of many new experiences and adventures that await me between now and the next new year!
The obligatory before and after.