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Friday, August 26, 2005

She's Got The Look

Well maybe it's not exactly the look I was going for. Maybe it suits me. Maybe it doesn't. Besides, it's just hair. It'll grow back. Right? Many of you saw in the photo posted yesterday that my hair was obnoxiously long. The key word there folks would be "was." That's right. It's gone. Almost all of it.

I've been seriously thinking about cutting my hair since the rest area mishap. Some of you will remember reading about that fateful day. While I was going to the bathroom, my hair had trickled down my back, to my butt crack, scaring me to death thinking it was a bug.

That wasn't the only thing to prompt me to cut my hair, however. My daughter, Lane 2, and I grow our hair out for Locks of Love. The organization designs and makes prosthetic type wigs out of donated hair. The wigs are given to disadvantaged children who have lost their own hair due to various medical conditions.

Every few years, when our hair is more than ten inches long, we cut it off and mail it out. Lane 2's hair grows much faster than mine and she has donated many more times than I have. She found out about this organization one night when I was writing a story about a hair drive. A local salon was looking for people who were interested in making a donation. In turn, they would get a free haircut. I explained what my news story was about and she was intrigued.

She said, at the ripe old age of 4, "Mommy, I want to give them my hair." And, so, a tradition was born.

I had been holding out on my haircut because I wanted to make sure after the ten inches were off, there would be plenty of play for some style. I know. Lois Lane with style? Crazy idea I had one day. But I get sick of always having one length boring hair. I wanted layers. I wanted to actually get to use the curling iron I've had buried in my linen closet for 12 years. (no exaggeration)

I told Lane 2 that I was ready for my haircut. She jokingly asked while holding up her big scissors, "How short do you want it?"

Lane 2 has cut many of her Barbie dolls' hair. It's one of her favorite things to do. In fact, she has a style head Barbie that she has been dying to take her scissors to. I never let her because I didn't want her ruining a perfectly good toy. Yeah, I know, Barbie, head or full doll, not exactly a perfect toy, but my girl really loves playing with those things. Knowing if she gave her Barbie head a hair cut, it would turn into porcupine head Barbie, thus causing my daughter to no longer want to play with her, so I said no.

Since my hair had reached the right length, I asked my daughter if she would like to play Barbie head with me.

"For real?"

"Sure. Why not?"

The sparkle in her eyes and smile on her little face was like Christmas morning. I combed and parted my hair off into sections. I put my hair into four ponytails around my head, indicating to her where to cut. I measured to make sure the ponytails were long enough. Ten inches on each side and twelve and a half inches in the back meant we were ready.

She held the scissors quite unsteadily and said, "Mommy? Are you sure about this?"

I laughed and told her to go for it. Her smile lit up the room as she hacked her way through the first 12-inch ponytail. Half way through she asked again if I was sure. "Kinda late to change my mind. Don't ya think?"

We laughed as she continued to cut the rest. Something weirder than letting a 10-year-old cut off my hair was happening to me. I felt like a weight was being lifted from my head, literally. It wasn't much different than taking a barbell off of your head. What? You've never done that before? Okay, then imagine you have a stack of stadium sized pizzas resting on your head... what? Forget all that. The point is, once the weight of my hair was lifted, my two year old headache was gone. Felt like magic.

When one goes around with a headache for two years straight, all sorts of thoughts come to mind. Poor vision, too much computer time, not enough rest, too many pillows, slept wrong, not enough caffeine, stress or maybe... a brain tumor. And then I'd hear Arnold in my mind, "It's not a tumor! It's not!"

When Lane 2 finished working her magic, we headed to a salon so I could get layers cut into my hair. The people there thought I was absolutely insane for letting my 10-year-old cut my hair, but once the stylist got a better look, she told Lane 2 what a straight cutter she is.

By the time she was finished, she had taken another two to six inches off of my head. (Two inches in the back, six in the crown with layers in between.) I'd like you all to scroll down and look at that picture one more time and notice my straight, light auburn hair.

All of that weight had pulled my hair straight, apparently. When the lady finished with me, I had not only dark auburn hair but it was curly too. How friggin' weird is that? Guess I can throw away that old curling iron. I've never had curly hair. My mother claims I had "little ringlets" when I was a baby. Then again, she's got that old timers thing, so who really knows?

When Mr. Lane saw me, he thought I had my hair cut, permed and dyed but he liked it. I'm not so sure if I like it because it is so different. I don't even look like me anymore. It's weird having curly hair after all these years. I'm slowly learning how to make it look presentable. Yes, when I learn how, there will be pictures.

I have a nephew, Darktails, who has alopecia areata. That's a genetic disease that causes the immune system to attack hair follicles. What that means is, he's bald. No eyebrows, eyelashes, body hair. Nothing. Bald as an eagle. He doesn't mind not having hair. And he is by far the coolest looking bald person I've ever seen. He wasn't really the reason or inspiration for our donations because I've never seen anyone look so freakin' good bald. But knowing what he went through when he was a little younger with kids making fun of him always comes to mind as the scissors hack through mine or my daughter's hair.

I've never nominated Darktails as a recipient of a wig, even though he would qualify. He is content in himself and that is what truly matters. To be honest, I've never met a 15-year-old who is more comfortable in their own skin, as he is.

I'm not into beauty and all that crap. I know how shocking that might be for some of y'all. When I do cut my hair, have it trimmed or dyed, I do it myself. I've never had a manicure or acrylic nails and I hardly ever wear makeup. But when there is a kid with cancer or alopecia, and they are having self esteem issues due to baldness, I think they should have every opportunity to make themselves feel and look good. That's the real reason why Lane 2 and I do this.