Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Full Circles? What is a "full" circle?

The two photos above are from August 25, 2006, not quite four years ago. On August 25, 2006, I had decided the time was ripe for a new haircut. I walked to the awesome hair salon in my downtown and told the stylist I was open for anything. We decided to go short, and I decided I wanted to go short enough that I could donate my hair. For no reason in particular other than I figured it was a nice gesture, and why not if I was already going to get a drastic new do? I was about to begin my sophomore year of university and was completely oblivious to the little cancer cells that were gradually taking me over.

I have thought a lot about that haircut over the past four years. The symbolism of innocently donating my hair to Locks of Love; my reluctance to shave my head the first time I lost my hair; my refusal to wear a wig. I actually even blogged about that haircut one year after the fact in August 2007, when I was mostly hairless and going through treatment. In retrospect, it only confirms my belief in the fact that everything happens for a reason.

This here fun photo was taken right now (woo!). Obviously, my hair is all back. Curlier, but otherwise exactly the same. And vain or not, I love it. Short hair was, for me, a constant reminder of the physical side effects of the chemo. As were the intense chemo curls I used to have, but those have mostly grown out as well. These days the hair is long and healthy and, actually, in pretty dire need of a trim.

So full circles: I had an idea a few days ago. Everyone knows (I hope...) that I am training for the 2010 Chicago Marathon with Team in Training. I think about my training and running and the marathon every single day. It is only 2 months away, and it scares me to no end. Anyway, I mentioned to one of my coworkers this crazy idea I had: I am throwing around the notion of holding off on a haircut until October, until the marathon. At that time, I would chop it all off and, once again, donate it. My coworker's response: "That's a great idea. It would be like everything has come full circle for you." Donating the hair; losing it; regrowing it; donating it once more...

Full circle. I don't like that image. In fact, it threatens me: to have gone through so much the past four years, hair being the least of it, only to end up right back where I started... But then I realized it's just an expression; don't take it so literally. I am training for a Marathon, for goodness' sake. Absolutely nothing is the same. I graduated college. I am not the same. Cutting my hair in anticipation of the 26.2 miles I will run for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society would be the end of the past four years, not a return to the beginning.

Maybe I put too much emotional emphasis on symbols in my life. Running this race is a symbol. Donating my hair. Turning 24... If I can do this one thing, I can finally let go of something else. And yet I need these milestones, these tangible reminders of how far I have come in four years. So I probably will wait for my haircut. Anyone want to join me....?! Haha, thanks, as always, for reading and putting up with my silly vanities. I think I'll go for a run now. Happy Wednesday. Pax.