I know that long, luscious locks are all the rage right now. Or, rather, have always been the rage. Historically, all beautiful women throughout the ages have had thick, beautiful, voluminous hair that cascaded down their backs until it reached their waists. Healthy hair means a healthy body–and a healthy body means the ability to produce healthy offspring, which is really all men care about, anyway (don’t tell me I didn’t pay attention during science). So while I understand the appeal of having hair like Lauren Conrad, I’m about to tell you something pretty controversial: I think you should cut it all off.
My motives are not impure–let’s get that out of the way right now. I don’t want you to cut your hair because I want Jimmy to like me more than he likes you, or because I think it would be funny for you to cry before our composite photos. I don’t want you to cut your hair because I think updos look horrendous on you and I don’t know how to say it to your face, or even because I think updos look amazing on you and I’d prefer to have better hair than you. I don’t want you to cut your hair because I’m immature or because I’m spiteful or because I think that everyone needs a good change post-breakup. Nope, I’m telling you to cut your hair off because someone needs it a hell of a lot more than you do.
I’ve donated my hair to Locks of Love twice: once in high school and again about six months ago, well after I’d graduated from college. Both times, I had (#humblebrag) beautiful, long, wavy hair that reached down to my belly button. It was the kind of hair that could be straight and sleek and also the kind of hair that could hold a curl. I rocked the french braid, the side pony, the fishtail, and a Kardashian-level sock bun–and I loved it. I loved my hair. But I didn’t need my hair.
When I chose to donate my hair the first time, I was a senior in high school and had just torn my rotator cuff while tumbling for my high school cheerleading team. Sitting on the sidelines thanks to a sports injury your final year on the team is pretty shitty, but at the ripe old age of 17, I recognized things could always be shittier. One night, I looked at my wall of bows (TSM)–practice bows, game day bows, competition bows–and realized that I would never have a reason to wear any of them ever again. The next day, I went to my hair salon and cut off 14 inches of hair. Because of the length and thickness, they were able to divide it into three braids, meaning three children with cancer now had hair thanks to my “shitty” experience. I walked out of the salon a little bit lighter, a whole lot happier, and with hair that was still long enough to put into a ponytail, albeit a short one. I didn’t have a “mom haircut,” I didn’t have a pixie, and I didn’t have a breakdown. I simply had shorter hair.
When I decided to do it again, I was coming off of a bad breakup and wanted a change. Without telling anyone, I went to my hairdresser and once again proceeded to have more than a foot of hair cut off. I didn’t cry, I didn’t scream, and I didn’t regret it. It was therapeutic, sure, but it was so much more than that. I had done something wonderful–and with little to no effort.
I don’t claim to be a great person. Hell, I’m not always even a good one. I’ve lied, I’ve cheated, I’ve disobeyed my parents and my teachers and the law, I’ve been a bad friend and an even worse daughter. I’ve said hurtful things I wish I could take back and I’ve wished such terrible things that it’s surprising I haven’t yet been smited. I’m not holier than thou and I do not believe for one second that I am a better person for having done this. I do, however, think that you should do it. It won’t resolve your past sins and it won’t make your ex-boyfriend forgive you or even make that new boy like you. It won’t add money to your bank account or allow you a tax write-off. It won’t make your mistakes go away and it won’t make you a more genuine human being. It won’t give you the ability to look down upon others and it certainly won’t give anyone a reason to look up to you. But you shouldn’t do it for any of those reasons to begin with. You should do it because there are little kids out there who are sick. There are little girls who want to wear bows and headbands and ponytails and braids and pigtails. There are little girls who want to feel like the beautiful princesses that they are–and you could make that happen for them. You shouldn’t do it for any reason other than because it is the right thing to do. You have the ability to help someone in need. Do it.
Image via Walker