Personal Column: New hairstyle for positive cause

Kennedy+Stidham%2C+Editor-In-Chief

Kennedy Stidham, Editor-In-Chief

Kennedy Stidham - managing editor (before hair cut)
Kennedy Stidham – managing editor (before hair cut)

When the year began, I had two resolutions: be a better person and actually stick to my first resolution. After years of saying I was going to improve and not following through, I was determined to treat others better. I made a list of all the ways I could accomplish my goal. I wrote things like “smile more”, “compliment others”, and “judge people less”. In bold and underlined letters, I wrote the thing I wanted to accomplish most: give what you do not need to make the lives of others better.

It was at this point I decided I would cut my hair and donate it to an organization that turns the hair into wigs for those with cancer. I knew I would miss my long, luscious locks. My hair had become a part of me, a key component of my appearance.  And I knew others would have their judgements. My best friend tried to talk me out of it. My mother asked, “Why would you cut your hair? Do you really want to be ugly for the rest of high school?” Still I was both determined and excited to make my donation. I knew it would be worth it as I considered a little girl, struggling with her health issues and missing her own hair, smiling as she put on her wig for the first time. To me, it was just hair. To her, it would mean so much more.

My hair stylist stood behind me, scissors in hand and asked “Are you ready?” Again, I thought of the girl, and before I could talk myself out of it, I told her yes. I closed my eyes and waited for the first snip. The sound of the scissors against my hair created mixed emotions. I wanted to go back, but that wasn’t possible. I tried not to cry, so I focused once again on the girl. But still, in the back of my mind, all I could think was: my hair is gone. It is not mine anymore.

I stared in the mirror in front of me, my eyes switching from the short hair in front of me to the fragments on the floor in the background. It was still so surreal that I had gone through with it. My hairstylist reassured me that I had done the right thing and that my hair looked great. But I felt so nauseous I couldn’t speak. I ran my hands through my hair, reminding myself of the reason I had done it. Knowing I could not change the decision I made, I embraced it.

Just as I suspected, my friends freaked. Some were very happy about the change, saying I looked better or that they liked the new style. Others were very angry, while a few criticized. One girl almost started crying. I was bombarded with questions. What do you think of it? How does it feel? Why did you do it? Why, why, why? My answers were the same every time, “I’m adjusting to it, but it feels amazing to have given such a gift to someone else.”

It was nice to be complimented for my generosity, but nothing compared to the few people who told me they were inspired to do the same thing. I knew I made a difference, and those people would turn around and make a difference, and so on and so forth. Hair will grow back, but the positive effect I had will never be reversed.