Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair…


Yesterday was an interesting day. Lots to do!  Finally unpacked from The Porches trip (and you will note that there is a new ticker up, a three month count down to Porches time in October, 2 rooms remain empty). I had a story posted at The Writerly Life. A good story, you should go read it if you haven’t already.

Ian and I met Anjie and a friend for lunch at Chick-fil-a. We put on cow masks, and ate for free. Ian was slightly horrified. But he did it; it’s good to move beyond your comfort zone. Wearing a mask and Mardi Gras beads is beyond Ian’s.

But he did it. Angie left in search of a Starbucks bargain (discounted iced tea, I think). Ian and I we going to get haircuts. I usually cut my hair once a year and donate it to Locks of Love. Every year, for years and years. And I have lots of hair. Every year, the hair stylist chops about a foot of the weed known as Mel’s hair, for free, and sends it away to someone in need. Someone with cancer going through Chemo. There’s probably enough of my waist-long hair to make a small wig. My hair grows a little over a foot a year; it is a weed.

When I was a child, my mother would let my hair grow. When it reached some magic length, she took me to Fred, her hairdresser and he would give me what was called a “pixie” cut. Mom and Fred would gather up my locks and sell them. Make wigs. Make money. Well, I didn’t make any money, but someone did.

But yesterday, I just wanted to give my hair away. And couldn’t. We stopped at the wrong shop, about ten doors from where I wanted to be and they said, they didn’t do anything like that. In fact, the stylist looked at me like I was strange – well, ok I might be strange. But this isn’t a strange thing to do.

So we went on to the second. I’ve had my hair cut at Great Clips for years; they always chop it off, bag it up, and send it off to Locks of Love. Because it’s the right thing to do.

I told the stylist at the reception desk my plan, “I’d like a haircut, I want to donate my hair to Locks of Love.”

A grave look crossed her face. “We don’t do that any more,” she said.

“Why?”

“Because they’d send us this big box that we’d have to fill before we could send it back. And it took forever to fill. Not enough people donate and the box would be here forever. Corporate stopped doing it. It was a corporate decision.”

What? For the record, corporations are not people. They don’t get cancer, need chemo. Corporations don’t see the beautiful faces of friend’s children posted on Facebook. Stunning. Bald. Fragile and exposed. I tried to process the information in some logical order – not enough people were donating their hair, to children who were possibly dying. It’s not like it’s money. It’s hair, something that they are cutting anyway. It’s just going to be swept into the trash. How could any one not do this? Who are we?

I sat draped in the stylist’s chair. “Cut off all the dead stuff, ok?”

“So, like an inch?”

“Um, no, I want it to look healthy, so cut it to just below my shoulder.” I looked to the supervisor (cutting Ian’s hair), “Do you know where I can send it? Do you have an address?”

“No.” Her tone told me that she too was thinking about beautiful bald children.

“Are you sure you want to cut that much hair? My stylist asked, that’s pretty drastic. You have a lot of hair.” She, like everyone else who had ever taken scissors to my hair, sounded a little intimidated, almost afraid.

“Yes, I’m sure. It’s a weed it’ll just grow back.” I closed my eyes and thought about the beautiful photos I’d seen on Facebook. I imagined looking directly into those eyes and saying, “Not enough people care, I’m sorry.”

The young stylist tied my hair off, at about the shoulder and began cutting. You have so much hair! She cut, then clipped, evened off, layered, and gave me bangs.

We looked at the tied hair on her station.

How can not enough people do this? Do you have hair reader? Do you get it cut? What happens to it? It’s not a painful thing to do. And we all should do it.

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend whose hair was falling out – in handfuls. After really severe Rheumatoid Arthritis attacks, my hair has done that. My friend was panicked, depressed about it; just as I had been. She went to the doctor about it, me too.

It is likely a cultural thing, but hair is important. It’s one of the ways we identify beauty. The semantics we use with it speaks volumes about our perception; hair frames your face. It makes your face a finished picture. And yet, we chop it off, sweep it away. Toss it in the trash. Lose the frame, remain incomplete.

So, let your hair grow a little longer next time. Be enough people. Let your hair frame someone else’s face. Let them feel like they fit, framed and beautiful. And it’s not about how people look without hair; it’s how they feel. Make someone feel better. Donate your hair to Locks of Love!

Help me find a place to donate mine. Because that’s the frame that helps me to feel complete.

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7 thoughts on “Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair…

  1. Mel – I’ve never had enough hair to cut- too damn curly too ever try to grow it. Here’s the link with all the information needed for donating cut hair to this very worthy cause -http://www.locksoflove.org/donate.html

  2. HOW TO DONATE (from locksoflove.org)

    10 inches measured tip to tip is the minimum length needed for a hairpiece.
    Hair must be in a ponytail or braid before it is cut.
    Hair must be clean and completely dry before it is mailed in.
    Place the ponytail or braid inside of a plastic bag, and then inside of a padded envelope.
    If you wish to receive an acknowledgment for your hair donation, please fill out the hair donation form, or write your name and e-mail address or mailing address on a full size separate sheet of paper and include inside the envelope. We cannot acknowledge donors who do not send their name and address according to these instructions.
    All hair donations must be mailed to Locks of Love at:

    234 Southern Blvd.
    West Palm Beach, FL 33405-2701
    **IMPORTANT** When mailing your donation, please make sure that you are sending it with adequate postage. The U.S. Postal Service has notified Locks of Love that many donations are being sent without enough postage, and these packages will be returned to sender! To ensure adequate postage, please take your donation to your local post office.
    Thank you!

  3. Fantastic Mel. During my kid’s high school days the BC Cancer Foundation had yearly drives. Chloe especially, (with weed hair), has donated miles of it. Such a small thing to do for so much good.

  4. Years ago, I shaved my hair off for a cancer charity event. Everyone at work freaked b/c my hair was long … My response: It grows. I raised about $600, as did my husband, plus I donated my hair to “Locks for Love” a Canadian charitable org that makes wigs for cancer patients. So it was a grand experience all around. Plus that summer was the first my head felt cool in my adult life (!). If you check out my photo albums on FB, I think the earliest has a picture of me immeditaely post-shave.
    So kudos to you for donating your hair!
    Awesome thing to do 🙂

  5. How wonderful of you to donate your hair. I never grew my hair long enough to cut off the required length at one time. Btw, you have beautiful hair!

  6. Beautiful! I love the part about how hair is a measure of beauty. When I was an angry young feminist, the reason I chopped off my long corkscrew-curly just-got-out-of-bed hair was because everywhere I looked, the only women presented as beautiful were ones with long hair, as if the women were all interchangeable, only their hair was important. And the funny thing was, once my hair was short, men stopped flirting with me–even ones I knew, like my boyfriend at the time!

    Let me know if you find a donation site; I would give mine, too.

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