Saturday, January 30, 2010

The End of a Journey

October 2008 I committed to growing my hair out to donate in order to help make wigs for those fighting cancer.


Since I started with barely shoulder length hair it took me a little over a year to finally get my locks to this point.


On Monday night I had a dream that I haphazardly cut my hair & didn't have enough to donate. I'm not sure too many people know this about me but I take my dreams fairly seriously. Not in the "this is actually going to happen" sense but in the "there is something I need to pay attention to" sense.

For weeks my hair had been bothering me. It was getting too long & heavy to stay in a neat ponytail and I had far passed the clip stage. For a normally short haired girl who really needs her hair out of her face I was going crazy.

On Wednesday morning before I headed out to work I asked Mitch to measure my hair. My objective had been 10 inches in order to donate to Locks of Love. Well, I only had 9 inches. Later that day I got online & learned that Pantene Beautiful Lengths takes donations of 8 inches. Before I had time to really digest what I was about to do, I called my hair dresser & made an appointment for that afternoon.

Instead of cutting my hair in a ponytail, she actually went around my head and cut in pieces so that we could get as much length as possibly from both the front & back.





When I got home I measured the cut ponytail. Some important details here, for Pantene Beautiful Lengths you measure from the elastic of the ponytail to the end. However, for Locks of Love, you measure from tip to tip and you measure the longest layer.



I would love to tell you guys that I walked out of there full of joy over what I had just accomplished. But, that wouldn't be true. Yes, I recognized what I was doing & how it would help someone else but I was also sad. After being away from short hair for 15 months it was a bit of a shock to no longer look like the "me" I had grown used to seeing. I kept telling myself that it was OK, it would grow, by the time little bean comes I could have shoulder length hair again.

It was in this state of shock & a little bit of mourning that it hit me. Really, really hard. THIS is why I just spent 15 months of my life growing out my hair to donate. For an afternoon, I had a glimmer of what it must be like for women & children going through a battle with cancer who lose their hair as part of their fight. To lose control over what for many of us, is such an integral part of who we are, must be such a sorrow.

Cancer is a horrible thing. A little over 10 years ago I lost my grandmother to bone marrow cancer. Due to distance I didn't witness most of her battle but I was aware of the pain that she was in & the suffering she experienced. There is so much internally & privately that a cancer patient has to go through that I cannot even begin to imagine. And then to have changes that are publicly seen must only add another layer to the pain.

Once I settled with all of this, I was grateful for my small saddness spurred by vanity. This experience has added a depth to my compassion. I truly lead such a blessed life and sometimes I can get caught up in my own small trials that I forget this. But, there are afternoons like this, where I'm able to make some small connection to those with larger trials than mine to serve as a reminder that I am blessed. It is my responsibility to share my blessings in any little or big way that I can. For now, that is cutting my hair 9 inches.



Some day, Garrett & I will talk about the time Mama cut her hair short & he didn't like it, at all. With a few years on him I'll be able to talk to him about this particular afternoon in greater depth. I'll be able to explain to him why I did it. I'll explain to him that it's not always about us. I'll explain to him that sometimes it's about trying to do what we can with what we have, no matter how big or small.

My prayer is that through these small acts he witnesses he will develop a great compassion for others within him. I just want him to know in his heart that the little things we do everyday to make someone's life better are important. Even if its just a smile or a good morning or cleaning out your closet for donations or chopping off your hair.

lovemon

29 comments:

renee said...

a beautiful heartfelt post - thank you.

Aimee said...

Beautiful story. I've always wondered how it works, thanks for explaining. I'm inspired by your commitment, and your haircut looks great!

Barb said...

You are a beautiful person, both inside and out.

Lee said...

You look adorable, Monica. You are a beautiful woman, inside and out. Loved this post :)

Maureen said...

That was awesome, you have beautiful hair, you are going to make someone very happy.

MidniteScrapper said...

Heartfelt and received! I think you look beautiful and from "getting to know you" through your words, I think I agree with the others. Beautiful inside and out. Inspiring.

Kim H. said...

Love this post Monica! Congratulations on fulfilling your heartfelt dream. You should be proud and your new haircut is beautiful too!

Melanie said...

Monica, I think that it looks really cute. Is it shorter in the last picture or is it because it is wet? I grew mine out to give to Locks of Love but then someone told me that they wouldn't take colored hair. I don't know if that is true or not. I just cut 3 inches off of mine and I come home and think...what did I do? You do get use to having it. I am still deciding if I am going to cut mine in 7 weeks. I just moved you know, and I didn't want to do anything drastic and regret it. Yours looks cute.

Fun Mama - Deanna said...

I think your hair is adorable. I've been told that Locks of Love takes colored hair, and hair of different lengths, but then hairdressers will tell me different. I didn't realize there are other groups that take donated hair. Thank you for the perspective in this post. I hadn't thought about the "sacrifice" of cutting my hair that way. I'm growing my hair for Locks of Love right now. It typically take me about two years to grow my hair from just under my earlobes to ten inches of ponytail. I wish more hairdressers would cut from all over the head like yours did!

StudioB said...

Good for you Monica. What a beautiful gift to give someone. My daughter were going to grow out their hair, but eventually we just couldn't take the long tangles. My youngest has the slowest growing hair. So unfortunately they both cut it off. Maybe they'll try again one day.
TracyBzz

wendy smedley said...

you look adorable-

Molly said...

I love you with short hair AND I love your HUGE heart!!

JulieChats said...

I love your post! That was a really great thing you did, someone deserving will be so very happy! I'm stopping by from Ella, it's so nice to meet other scrapbookers & read their blogs. I'll definitely be back, just signed up to follow you! When you get a chance, stop by & check out my scrapbook blog! I'm always looking for a few more followers! http://juliechats.blogspot.com

{jennie} said...

This is the second hair donation post I've read to day. Julie from Cosmo Cricket wrote a post about her 10 year old daughter donating her hair. Great post and it will make a great scrapbook page!

Tanya said...

Wow! What an inspiring post!! Your new do looks great!

Heather said...

What a beautiful act of kindness you've done! I'm so glad I found your blog and your story!

Michelle said...

What a great thing you did! The new hair looks great

Just Us said...

I donated a couple years ago and have been growing out my hair to do it again...and I am feeling the same-that it is time. Last time they cut 17 inches off the back total, I had them cut the pony tail fast so I wouldn't freak out-I have never really had short hair since junior high. I walked away feeling styled-but naked without my hair. When I look back now-I have no regrets. My hair grew back, I tried something new, and helped out how I could. I think it is awesome that you donated :0)!!

Chelsea and Manuel said...

What an awesome experience, you'll have to do a LO with all your feelings on it- that would be neat!

elderscrapper said...

Your words are so true. I lost my father to bone cancer and sent a 12" braid to Wigs for Kids. It does make a huge difference to some wonderful person, that which each of us find the time to do for another.

Andrea said...

You don't realize how much hair means to someone till you lose it. My niece is fighting cancer and it was hard for her to lose her hair. This post really brought your giving to heart. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

you make me smile.
I just talked to a friend last night about going shopping for a wig before upcoming treatments she is facing.
LAP

Melanie said...

What a beautiful and selfless gesture. My daughter donated her hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths just over a year ago, right after she turned eight. We talk about it sometimes wondering where he hair is and hoping that it's helping someone cope during a hard time in their life.

Enjoy the Ride said...

From a daughter who's mother lost her battle with cancer, thank you so much for donating your hair. My mother made many comments that we don't know how much of our confidence is tied up into our looks (hair,specifically) until you have to find confidence without it. She was very upset when she lost her hair and wore several real-hair wigs to help her cope. Thank you for donating. And thank you for sharing your journey.

Kyla said...

Wonderful post Monica! You're a beautiful woman both inside and out! Long hair or short, you've impacted someone's life with your sacrifice.

Brenda in Sunny So Cal said...

I just cut mine after growing it out a whole year! I was able to donate 12 inches, how I wish I had thought of taking pictures of it BEFORE it was cut! Locally I still have the braid I can take a picture of right now!

Jana said...

What a wonderful gift you have given. Too funny about Garrett not liking it. I had my hair cut from pretty long to shoulder length when my oldest was about 15 months old. When I got home, she cried and turned her head into her daddy's shoulder. She wouldn't look at me for about an hour or two.

Angie said...

I think your short hair is adorable! Way to go. It's funny, I'm growing my hair out to donate too (have been for a year), and I'm considering Pantene Beautiful Lengths also, AND I had a dream about accidentally cutting my hair too! Same wavelength, sista!

Cheryl said...

What an awesome thing you did, and you look absolutely adorable with short hair!