Growing up, I always had long hair. I think it was a side-effect of having to sport a boy-cut when I was a kid because my mom got scissor-happy (Mom claims she had to cut it that short because I stuck gum in it–believe who you will).
[Bro & me circa the late 80s (the shortest my hair ever was)] / [My bro, step-sis & me going holoholo]
Once I hit middle and high school, my hair became the veil between me and the world, both literally and figuratively. Truthfully, I hoped that my hair would cover my fat. But more than that, I hoped that it would keep people from seeing how truly ugly I felt.
Once I began working out my senior year of high school (you can read the whole story in the About section), I slowly started to recognize my own beauty. After losing about 30 lbs (and gaining immeasurable self-confidence), I knew something was different. I was about to embark on my biggest journey ever–my move to the University of Oregon–and I wanted to reinvent myself. So on my way home from work one day I stopped at a salon in town and told them I wanted to donate my hair. That I wanted something drastically different but that I didn’t have anything in mind. I left the salon that day feeling lighter than I’d ever felt in my life. I was liberated! All the anticipation and nervousness was gone, and I emerged confident and ready to take on other “impossible” feats!
Throughout college, I kept my hair short. I associated long hair with having something to hide and short hair with liberation and freedom. I never wanted to be that long-haired, insecure, unhappy person again.
After we moved home to the islands, I became lazy about cutting my hair, and then a friend of ours became my stylist and I would just tell her to do with my hair what she wanted (incidentally she always seemed to want it to grow out, so I went with it). Fast forward to present, and here I am:
Everyone likes it long, and I agree–it’s much healthier and shinier than it’s ever been before–it’s beautiful. And I learned a valuable lesson by letting it grow out this time–I will never be that old Haley ever again. I have come too far. I’m grateful for the lessons my hair has taught me over the years. But, because I believe in constant reinvention for myself, I do things when they seem scary to me.
“Do something every day that scares you.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
Yesterday as I was looking through the paper I saw this ad:
I turned to Ben and said, “I need a trim anyway… I should donate my hair.” And because he’s the most supportive, loving and amazing husband in the universe, he said, “you should!”
I don’t consider myself to be attached to many things, especially physical things like my hair, but the thought of having short hair again sort of made me nervous–which is the reason I picked up the phone and called the salon to schedule the haircut. Well, that and the fact that my hair goes to Locks of Love, who makes wigs for kids with alopecia! I also called one of my best friends Kamaile and asked if she’d come with me because 1) I’ve so needed Kamaile-time lately and 2) I’d rather have a friend at a fun event like this! I decided not to tell anyone else because I wanted people to be surprised 🙂
After an amazing dinner at Monsoon, an incredible Indian restaurant in north Kihei, we were on our way :). The even was great! Their quaint shop was crowded with people in pink! By the time I got there, about 8 other people had already donated hair (including one guy who wound up with a buzz cut!). I was stoked to be donating my hair, but to be honest, I was almost as excited to be getting a free haircut (I’m way too low-maintenance).
The stylists were prepared to calm me down (as they had been doing with most people who had donated) but I was gung-ho! People kept saying, “thanks for donating your hair!” and I kept replying, “I’m not using it… someone could make good use of it!”
[a healthy diet + no coloring = happy hair!]
In all, my hair was longer than I expected so the end result isn’t that short! I’m so glad it’s going to a great cause! Plus, now I don’t have to brush it 🙂 And, if I like, I can always grow it back–and then donate it again 😉
Most of all, it’s offered me another opportunity to grow and reinvent myself. I’m ready for some big changes in life, and this was a great start! Bring on the “impossible”!
It’s pretty awesome to imagine some little kid wearing my hair in a few months. If I were a kid with alopecia, I’d definitely be excited to be receiving my hair! Which reminds me, have you watched “Good Hair” by Chris Rock? If not, go check it out. It will change the way you think about the hair industry forever.
Have you ever donated a piece of yourself? What do you do when you’re ready for the next chapter of life?