Today, August 25, is the one-year anniversary of the last time I received a professional haircut. I had long, shiny, blondish-brown, wavy locks, and I chose to do something new and different: I got a really cute bob cut. But wait, there's more! I thought I would do a noble thing and get enough hair cut off so that I could donate it to... Locks of Love. That's right, one year ago today I had about eleven inches of hair cut off that was then donated to an organization that makes wigs for children under the age of 18 who have experienced hair loss due to various illnesses. One year ago today, I had no idea that it would be only four short months until my own hair started falling out. I was only thinking, vaguely, that Locks of Love was a good cause. I know I wasn't thinking about the kids without hair. Baldness was an inconceivable idea to me. Women and children who were bald were to be pitied because that must mean they had some terrible, unspeakable illness. Plus, I mean, they didn't have hair, and who wants that? Yet here I am, one year later, with such a completely different perspective, I almost can't believe it. I'm not bald anymore; I have essentially a buzz cut. Now when I walk around without a hat or scarf, which I have started doing, I become defensive. The absolute last thing I want is to be pitied for not having hair and its associated implications. I know I've talked about being bald on here quite a bit, but I think it's interesting to consider the person I was one year ago, unthinkingly donating my hair to Locks of Love. I have seen so many sick people in clinic, bald or otherwise. I no longer pity them with a blithe ignorance stemming from my false assumption that I was invincible. Now, it makes me so sad to see anyone who is clearly in pain or ill. I know what it feels like to be scared and sick, and I would not wish that feeling on my worst enemy.
I like to try and finish my introspections with some way for others to apply what I've learned. But I'm at a bit of a loss right now. If someone had said something similar to this to me one year ago, I would have felt sad, but I wouldn't have really understood. I wouldn't have understood that it is okay and often necessary to talk about disease. It is okay to feel sorry for people who are in a much worse physical state than me. But it is not okay to pity them. They are trying desperately hard to live a normal life, to live to see tomorrow, and that is admirable, not pitiable. Things like poverty and war are easy to understand because they can be seen, visited, fixed. Cancer and other terminal illnesses you pretty much have to experience yourself to fully understand their magnitudes. But I do have to end somehow, so I will. If you're getting your hair cut, consider donating it. Locks of Love really is a good cause, and children are helped to feel a little better about themselves, which is the most important thing. And forgive my ramblings. The end of treatment is drawing near for me, so I'm trying to figure out if I've learned anything over the past almost nine months. If nothing else, I hope anyone who reads this has learned something. Hokey doke, enjoy the rest of the weekend. Peace.