According to Wikipedia.org, "hair is the filamentous outgrowth of the epidermis found in mammals. It is a characteristic of all mammals, though in some species hair is absent at certain stages of life." While that may be the clinical definition of hair, for women, our hair often defines us. I was a follically-challenged child and young adult. Not that I didn't have good hair. Don't get me wrong. When my hair wasn't frizzing out, it could be nearly manageable. It's just that when my mom got tired of me not letting her brush my long hair at the age of 5, she had it cut. (This is also when I was beginning to show my stout tendencies. Ugh!) Most of it was gone....all gone....and then gave she me a perm!!!! Egad! This was the first of many poor hair decisions to come.
I was always jealous of those girls with the long flowing locks and especially the ones who would fling their ponytail around as they bounded around in their cheerleading uniforms. Long hair was a sure sign that you were a girly-girl. I was not. I despised anything lacy and/or pink.
I spent most of my childhood and adolescence with hair styles ranging from practically shaved to ALMOST chin length. There was even a brief period when I was a teenager that I decided to grow it out and I think it made it almost to my shoulders before it started to feel overwhelming, so I decided to get it cut again. I cried...a lot.
So, after college, when I had started a real job, began working out and wanted to start dating, I decided that perhaps growing my hair out might be a nice change of pace.
It's now nearly 10 years later and after many trims and a couple of times where I had actually taken quite a few inches off at one time, my hair was definitely officially "long". It had reached the middle of my back. I could curl it into these long flowing spirals and bound around with it in a ponytail like those cheerleading girls of my envious dreams. But along the journey to becoming a long-haired girl, I think a lot more than my hair grew. I think I grew as a person as well.
I realized a couple of things. 1) Hair does not define the woman. 2) I am lazy. I don't enjoy spending tons of time in front of the mirror drying and curling my hair every morning only to "give in" and put it into a boring ponytail by 10 AM anyway. 3) A summer of motorcycle camping seems like a much better prospect when I don't have to spend it brushing knots out of my hair every morning.
So, I took the plunge. I called my cousin, Lori, and made the appointment. She ponytailed (the last ponytail for a while for me), measured (a minimum of 10 inches is needed) and cut it for me. Right now my lopped off ponytail sits in a plastic bag awaiting mailing to the people at Locks of Love where they will combine it with up to 5 other ponytails donated by other formerly long-haired people. That hair will help children who can't grow hair of their own feel a bit more like the other kids. Perhaps there is eve a future cheerleader out there waiting for her very own ponytail to fling as she bounds around the school yard.
A few fun facts:
* It takes 6 - 10 ponytails to make 1 hairpiece.
* The retail cost of each hairpiece is between $3,500 and $6,000.
* About 80% of the hair donations to Locks of Love come from children.