Donated my hair yesterday. Four years ago, in June, I donated my hair to give thanks for getting into one of my top colleges. In the past year, while working hard on my medical school applications and worrying, I promised to donate my hair once again if I got into one of my top medical schools.
When I got in, I waited a month to donate because I wanted to make sure my hair was nice and healthy before I gave it away—I didn’t want them to just throw away my hair because there were too many split ends. The night before I donated, my hair was long and really silky, really pretty. I stood in my bathroom admiring it for a while, and I felt so sad to let it go.
I’m even sadder now for these reasons:
(1) The barber said he would do X to my hair and did Y, and the result is a poor, sloppy haircut that makes me look like a weird Asian Ramona Quimby. Not a good look.
(2) I just learned that hair only grows, on average, a half-inch per month. So I will be stuck looking like a weird Asian Ramona Quimby for a long, long time.
(3) This is probably the most important reason—the bunch of hair (more than a foot long) I am mailing off to Ohio in a manila envelope today has been with me when I entered college, slaved through orgo, wandered the streets of a foreign country; it was tied up in a long ponytail when I went on interviews, and tucked into my coat like a scarf against the December cold when I got the phone call from one of my dream medical schools. Tangled, ironed straight, wavy, braided, in a ponytail, it has always been one of my favorite physical features, and has made me feel confident during a long and turbulent journey through college. Since I have cut my hair, I have caught myself reaching up and absentmindedly trying to run my fingers in hair that is no longer there.
I love my hair so much, and it has been an extension of me, so it really makes me feel even closer to women, girls (men and boys, too, I guess) whose lovely hair has been robbed of them by chemotherapy or by alopecia. What does it feel like to slowly lose your hair in clumps on the hairbrush? To go through high school with people staring at you or making fun of you because you are completely bald?
My aunt used to have long, thick black hair like mine. But when she got uterine cancer, I watched it disappear slowly, until she was totally bald. She bought a wig, like the ones my hair will help make. She passed away when I was a teenager, and I miss her so much. I wish I had gotten to know her more, teach me more. I wish that she could come down from heaven and give me a hug when I graduate, but she can’t. Cancer has taken her away from me. But I really hope that she is looking down on me and is proud of me.
And most of all, I hope that my hair will be useful, and will help make a nice wig for some person that needs it, comfort and empower them as it did me. And that someday that wig will be put into retirement, because that person will get better.
Thinking of that makes me feel a little better about my weird Asian Ramona Quimby hair (even though it was the stylist’s fault)