December 2008. When I look back at this picture, I'm not entirely sure why my hair is this long.
Superbowl, February 2009. I don't remember who played. I do remember that I got my hair cut off the day before the big game. At the time, I didn't have a hair plan so much as a sense of relief that all that length was gone, a sense of frustration because I wouldn't be getting my hair in a pony tail anytime soon and a huge sense of satisfaction in donating my hair to be made into wigs for cancer patients.
April 2010. A red letter day. Not for any other reason than I'd been reading a friend's blog. A young friend who'd developed breast cancer. Ironically, while I've met Blends (Blog+Friends) from all over the east coast, this blend lives in the same city as me and we've never met. .
I had all the usual reactions when I heard that Judy had developed breast cancer. I knew I wanted to help somehow. But not knowing her or having had any other contact except through our blogs, I didn't know how to help. And I didn't want to intrude. But on this day, I had K3 take a picture of me, because I knew without a doubt that I could grow hair. And as Judy was about to lose her hair, it struck me as being entirely appropriate I could commit to growing my hair on her behalf.
So while Judy went through surgery, and then chemo and then radiation... my hair grew, and grew. [chanted with the rhythm of Shel Siverstiens 'She would not take the garbage out'] It wrapped around my neck at night and got caught in my arm pits and bra straps. It got shut in the car door and retracted into the seat belt dispenser. It got static cling during cold snaps and went frizzy in the rain... And still it grew. Even as it frustrated me, all I had to do was read Judy's blog and remember why I was doing this.
Superbowl 2011 came and went. My target date. Two years since my last hair cut.
Saturday morning, I woke up and knew it was time.
I washed my hair and blew it dry one last time. I had TOG take a picture of my hair before he drove me to the salon. (Yes, I get overheated drying that much hair!)
I welled up a little when they braided it, cut it off and bagged it up for donation.
Conversely, it was also one of the best feelings I've ever had.
I'm adjusting to my new hair. I don't love it yet. And I don't miss my long hair yet.
But I do need to thank Judy for inspiring me to contribute in a meaningful, everyday way. More than a check signed, mailed and forgotten, donating my hair was a process. Every time I brushed it, deep conditioned it or threw it in a pony tail, I was reminded that ultimately it wasn't my hair after all. It was destined to be somebody else's.