When I moved to Southern California some 11 years ago, I began with “buzz cut” hair. Since that time, I grew out my hair quite long, observing as the curls came out. I’ve been resistant for quite a long time about ever cutting the hair. It seemed that once a certain point was reached, the hair became its own commitment. I always knew a time to cut it would come, and I had always been open that the very act of cutting it was a major move in my mind, requiring a somewhat drastic action on my part. That time has come and gone, now.
To be honest, I surprised a lot of people by suddenly shaving my head bald. I have always told people that the day I cut my hair, I would shave it bald. However, no one really saw it coming that I would even cut it at this point. I actually was quite specific about not talking to people about it.
Truth is, the “why” question, again, isn’t very easy for me to answer. I still think it is a silly question to ask me, but I will try to provide some insight.
When the idea came to me that it might be time, I began seriously thinking about it. It wasn’t a move I was ready to take lightly and jump on. I also wasn’t comfortable with anyone else giving me any input on whether I should or should not do it. This needed to be a personal decision that I made of my own volition.
There never was a sudden “Aha!” moment of making up my mind that I was going to do it. It was an evolution of a thought that it could be time for it, which eventually became the realization that yes, it was time. The more I thought about the idea, the more I began to realize that my intuition was clearly leading me in that direction. I finally caved in and confirmed that it was indeed time.
Even once the final decision was made, I had no idea when. Perhaps this was an easier one, lending itself to much more logical thought than the initial, personal decision to cut the hair off. The weight of deciding that it was time to cut the hair was obviously weighing on me, but I at first was thinking that I would do it just before moving into the car. However, the more I thought about it, numerous things began to make me believe that sooner would be better. Having some time to grow accustom to the lack of hair and build some new hair to protect against the elements I would be spending more time in; these were very practical concerns I began to think about.
Long story short, after all of this thought, I decided to cut it.
Once I decided to finally cut the hair, I began the process. I put some incense burning in the bathroom and washed my hair. With the incense still burning, I tied up my hair into 5 different pony tails for optimal length all around, and took the scissors to them.
The first cut was somewhat difficult, but once that was down, the rest got easier and easier. I saved the largest, biggest ponytail for last, at the back of my head. After that, I was left with patchy, inconsistent hair, which I continued on to shave myself to bald.
To top it all off, I decided to go ahead and shave off the beard that I had grown for the last year or so as well. There’s not much to talk about, other than I simply decided that it felt most appropriate to go all out with this shaving. Once that was done, I had a new look that I haven’t had anything even close to in many, many years.
Donating The Hair And More
Once I had settled on cutting my hair, I knew that I was going to donate it. I began doing some initial research just prior to cutting my hair, but nothing to really settle on how or to whom I would be donating the hair.
Locks of Love was an obvious one, which gets a lot of attention. I’ll refrain from how many people believe that organization is a bit sketchy, as that ultimately did not have any effect on my decision.
Through my research, I found Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program. This is a program which accepts hair 8 inches or longer. A great amount of the funding comes from Pantene, who compiles the hair, dyes a few batches together and creates a new, real hair wig. All of the wigs that are created in this program are then given to the American Cancer Society, who gives the wigs to women battling cancer, free of charge.
As cutting my hair was such a personal move for me, I decided that I would feel most comfortable doing something more personal with the donating of the hair as well. As I know several people who have battled cancer, or even continue to battle cancer, I decided that I would be most comfortable donating my hair in honor of all of those amazing people that I have known.
With the decision made, I put the ponytails into a gallon plastic bag after being allowed to dry for a couple of days, and packaged them into a bubble wrap envelope to mail. On Monday, I took the package to the Post Office and mailed it in. The program will receive my hair and hopefully make the most of the hair I cut, giving a woman battling cancer a bit more comfort in her life.
Now, with the bald head, I have to get used to it, of course. I went ahead and headed to REI, where I bought a hat that will provide some protection from the sun, which my hair used to provide decently well. Wearing beanies to help with the cold air is other factors. Otherwise, it’s to the future, where I will see what it has in store for my hair adventures. I’ll let it grow for a definite bit, of course, and may even let it grow enough to donate it again in the future. Who knows?! One more piece of the future adventure of life I now await.