For the third time in a decade I left for the hairdressers with elastic bands dividing my hair into pigtails, and before even receiving (an incredibly comfortable) wash and head massage I had them roughly chopped off. I now sit remarkably lighter with two pigtails in a bag which will soon be sent off to the Little Princess Trust.
It has always been a pretty big deal to me, but this time there were two main thoughts in my head. Firstly, this is yet another thing that has changed in my life since becoming a mother for the second time. My child, whilst wonderful and beauty, has an unfortunate habit of keeping my hair in a remarkably tight grip. Trying to wrestle your hair free without pain and keep your child asleep after an hour of rocking and patting and bouncing is not easy. Cutting my hair was the simplest strategy and yet is a stark reminder that life has changed dramatically since Cub was born, and again since T. The moments I walk past a mirror and barely recognise myself is not just skin deep, my character changed, I grew in ways I did not expect, and lost parts of myself in sacrifice to loving my children. This sounds painful but at times it was simply like walking lighter.
Secondly, weirdly, this is also connected to my hope to reduce waste in my life. It is weird to think of my hair as waste, but actually that’s what it was to me. Now, however, it will go to someone who needs it, someone who is vulnerable and struggling, and will be built up by the donation. My hair is best thought of as a product that I created, harvested, and gave away.
I am pretty sure I will continue this cyclical plan of mine: cut my hair, donate it, grow it out gradually, cut again and repeat. It allows me to push outside of a comfort zone, try styles I may not have even thought of, and occasionally remind me that having something quick and easy is a really great thing. It is also wonderful to think that there may be little girls or boys wearing some of my hair, feeling a little bit more themselves, because of something I did so easily. Even as a mother of two I could give something of myself, get involved and add to the joy in the world, however exhausted I feel on a daily basis I at least did that. Giving myself makes me feel productive and worth something. I do it through art, food, preaching and teaching, writing, but this time: hair.
My thanks go to Geri at Toni & Guy in Chelmsford – she was wonderful.
If you would like to get involved do check out the Little Princess Trust. If you want to take the plunge and donate hair there are clear instructions and you receive a lovely letter to acknowledge your donation. Otherwise, why not donate financially, or just publicise there existence. Can you imagine how many children could be helped if everyone who wanted a dramatic change in style also donated? It’s such a simple thing and I really recommend it.