At least this one doesn't need to be kept inside the refrigerator.
The morning that I went to donate my hair, I washed it and left it down. I should have made a t-shirt--Cut Hair Walking. I felt like my hair was on death row and it was slowly inching towards the time that it would be severed from my head. I cared for it and rubbed conditioner through it and took my time combing it out. The final meal.
When I dropped off the twins at school, everyone commented as I walked down the hall how pretty my hair looked that day. Each time I explained that I was cutting it off that afternoon and the person would do an astonished, "but why?", I would second guess the decision entirely. I mean, no one comments on my eyes or lips or tiny ass (except for Julie). But everyone comments on my hair. Until Friday afternoon, it literally went down my entire back, serving an additional use as a curtain to block out the tan line that I didn't take care of before wearing the backless dress for the turkey cutlet bra wedding.
The fifth person to give me the astonished "but why?" received the answer that I was donating it. If I was going to get my hair cut at all, I was going to go all the way with it. I mean, what's the point in trimming off four inches? No one benefits from four inches. I certainly didn't want my hair four inches shorter--I liked the length--and you can't donate four inches. It literally would just end up on the cutting room floor.
This woman was standing with her ten-year-old daughter who sneered at her mother when she exclaimed, "my daughter wants to donate her hair too! She's growing it out for Locks of Love. Sweetie, look at Melissa's hair. Do you see how long that is? And she's just donating it now. You have a long way to go."
"My hair is just as long as hers," the girl snarled at her mother.
"I don't think it is. You'll end up with short hair if you donate it now."
"Mother," she spat, as if her mother were this hopelessly cruel being who had just suggested that a good Saturday activity would be rubbing our thick manes in the faces of children with alopecia. "You know, some hair is still better than no hair. There are children with no hair, mother."
The little girl stormed off and her mother sighed. "Charming, right?"
"I think it's cool that she wants to donate it," I said unhelpfully.
"Yeah, it's cool until she winds up with a pixie haircut and tons of regret and cries for three days straight and I need to deal with her aftermath."
Which sounded in that moment a lot like how I predicted I would react when I saw a ponytail of my hair hanging out of someone else's hand.
I like having long hair.
Oh--I should have warned you at the beginning of this post--I am a complete baby about haircuts.
This was taken by Cooking My Life at BlogHer DC last week. I think that was my second bag of popcorn. Maybe my third.
Look at those long, luscious locks. Even tightly curled, it still went down almost to my waist. When I pulled it straight, I could almost sit on it. Yes...um...that is me getting popcorn.
After school, I picked up the twins and we went down to meet Nazly. She works at the Bethesda Row location and does fantastic hair. Just wanted to mention that in case you are in the DC area and are looking for a salon. She was standing by the door with my mother and a ruler. I sat down in the hair and she gleefully asked if I wanted a final photo.
I have to admit that I had a secondary motive for donating my hair. I have always wanted to see what I would look like with a chopped off ponytail ever since I read Harriet the Spy. I love that book so much.
She measured out ten inches and showed me and I told her to throw in one extra. Why? I'm not sure right now. But at the time, it seemed like 11 was a better number than 10. When she first started cutting, I couldn't even feel it. There was just the sound of the scissors and the pressure of her hand holding the ponytail taut and this strange sight in the mirror of my blurry, spectacle-free face asking myself what the hell I was doing.
And then it was done.
Nazly held my hair in her hand and showed me the ponytail. She slipped it into a bag and I stared at my uneven hair in the mirror. I asked her to take another photo, but she suggested that people may not donate to Locks of Love if they saw how my hair looked in that post-donation, pre-shaping stage. It was a fantastic horror-show of a haircut. I felt like I should have brought some lipstick to smear outside the lipline and a hatchet with me to go with it.
She conditioned my hair and cut it and shaped it and twirled it back into curls. And when it was done, I stared at myself in the mirror for a long time with the thought of that woman's snarling daughter in my head. I didn't want to cry, but I didn't look like myself. I liked the idea that I had something to give someone else, but I was sad that I lost the one feature that people associated with me. And most of all, I hated that I cared about something like hair. I kept reassuring Nazly that it wasn't the cut--she had done a great job--it was simply the Cut.
I warned you that I was babyish about haircuts.
I have this thing about my hair--it's not perhaps at the level of Samson, but I really do think of myself as this long-haired person. And since the cut, I've felt abbreviated. I'm just Melis. Missing the sa. I'm not entirely sure what was contained in the sa, but doesn't that sound all Eastern and profound? What is wrong with the girl? She is missing her sa.
Aaaaaah, yes. Her sa.
I've been trying to search for silver linings. It only takes me a few minutes to wash and style it now instead of a half hour. It feels lighter. Maybe your sa is simply a heaviness. It sounds like "sigh." The haircut lends authenticity to a multitude of costumes. I am considering going as a buxom flapper for Halloween. A flapper who didn't get the memo about dancing and cigarette smoking over picking all of the Snickers bars out of the bag of Halloween candy.
Here is something to think about: the hair at the scalp is obviously from 2008, but down at the tip, the hair is older. Vintage hair. I'm not sure how much older, but using the calculation that hair grows about a half inch per month, my split ends were probably four years old.
One day, probably soon, there will be a little girl walking around with my hair on her head and she will be carrying with her the birth of the twins. She will be carrying with her the NICU stay and those first weeks at home before I found my groove. She'll be carting around my four month long project to teach myself how to cook from a professional cooking school text book. She will have with her the loss of my great aunt, many library story hours, the twins' baby naming.
What a fantastic world where she will take all of the places my hair has been to and couple it with her own trip: senior prom? learning how to drive? horseback riding lessons? Barbie games? It is bizarre to think that this thing that has been a part of me, literally attached to me, produced inside of me and worn as an identifier outside of me, will now be hers.
I hope it helps her land the guy like it did for me.