Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I Cut My Hair

I decided to donate my hair. I got it cut tonight and I am going to mail it away to Beautiful Lengths to be made into a wig for a woman with cancer.

Here are the before and after photos.


On the left: the before front and back. On the right: the after, straight and curly. 


If you are interested in my reasons behind choosing Beautiful Lengths or my reasons for cutting my hair, click through to read more.

Why Beautiful Lengths?
I know a popular organization to donate hair to is Locks of Love but they are an American company (though they also operate in Canada), the minimum length requirement is 10 inches, and they only make wigs for people under the age of 21 suffering from medical hair loss. (source)
Beautiful Lengths is a partnership between Canadian Cancer Society and Pantene, their minimum length requirement is only 8 inches, and they make wigs for women over and under the age of 21 with cancer. (source) (My donation ended up being about 10 inches anyways but when I decided to donate it I wasn't sure how short I wanted to go.)

Why Did You Want to Cut Your Hair?
I had long hair when I was a kid but kept it short through my pre-teen and teen years, having everything from a chin-length bob in 5th grade to a pixie cut in 9th grade when I entered high school.
In high school I kept it pretty short for the most part.
I have very, very thick, very wavy/curly hair. So it was easier to deal with when it was short. Plus I never saw myself as girly or caring too much about looks. (I didn't wear make-up, I didn't have long hair, etc.)

Right before I turned 20 I got a pixie cut again, partially inspired by Emma Watson cutting her hair off. I thought it was chic and mature and I wanted to look more grown up.
But what people don't talk about is that a pixie cut required more maintenance than long hair. Sure, it takes 2 seconds to style every day and you can let it air dry. If you go two weeks without a haircut, it looks fine, but by the third week you look like you have a mullet and you need a haircut ASAP.
It worked for that summer when I was working full time but when I had to go back to university I couldn't afford the maintenance.

So, since the fall of 2010 I've kind of been growing out my hair. It started out as a necessity (I couldn't afford a haircut every 2-3 weeks), then turned into an experiment (how long can I grow my hair? how much time will it take to get to _____ length? what will I look like with long hair as an adult [like I said, I hadn't had hair past my shoulders since I was a kid])

People started noticing that my hair was growing, and commenting on it. And for some reason it really annoyed me. Because at that point, growing my hair out wasn't really something I was actively doing, I just wasn't getting haircuts. First of all, it bothered me that people would comment on my appearance,rather than talk about something interesting about my life. (Over the course of growing out my hair I finished two university degrees, moved away, started a brand new career...there were more important things going on than my hair growing.)
Also, I am bad at small talk in general and I found the hair conversation especially boring. There's really only one response to, "your hair's getting long." That response is "yup." I didn't really have any reasons for growing my hair out, so I didn't have anything to contribute to the conversation. I was so annoyed with people commenting on my hair that I almost cut it off just to have something more interesting to say. At least cutting your hair is active, not passive like growing it. If people said, "You cut your hair." I could at least say, "Yes. that is something I did that you noticed, not something that just happened to me."
Buuuut I didn't cut it. At some point, the hair growing turned into an experiment (as I mentioned above.) I started growing it with intent. I was determined to make something passive (my hair is growing) into something active (I am growing out my hair.)

I know that didn't really answer why I wanted to cut it.

So, seriously, why did you decide to cut your hair?

I guess there is no deep psychological reason. Growing hair takes time so it was inevitable that I'd reflect on why I was doing it, but cutting hair is spontaneous and requires no reason. It's as simple as: I was sick of my long hair. I feel more like myself with short hair. The experiment is over. I know what I look like with long hair, I know how it feels. I can now say I've had everything from a pixie cut to hair halfway down my back. It is freeing to decide to grow your hair out, to show your natural beauty, to appreciate your body and what it can do; and it is freeing to take control of something, make a drastic change, do something crazy.

I don't want long hair any more and somewhere there is probably somebody who does. Now they can have some of mine.

If you are interested in learning more about the Beautiful Lengths program, visit their website here.
If you are interested in making your own donation, learn how here.

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