Truth: I am really attached to my hair. I don’t mean just literally, that much is obvious, but it’s who I am. My hair is such a big part of my personal identity – it’s how I feel… me.
Photo by: Kimberly Reid Photography
Let me back up about 30 years. I was born mostly bald, like most babes, but then I stayed bald.
Until I was TWO.
When my hair started growing they called it ‘cotton candy hair’. It was thin and wispy. It didn’t bother me one bit, though. As I grew up, I wore it up in a pony tail that gave me permanent highlights only around my hairline and hung with the best of the boys and girls… we were all the same.
Then came the sixth grade. My hair started to grow. Really grow. It changed texture and length and color and then we moved cross county. Things were different in this new town and it was the first time in my life I really started to define myself as a female. My hair became my identity, my safety net, my defining feature. It was what set me apart and it was something that I could both be proud of and hide behind. The beauty of identity, though, is that it changes… and that you have the control to change it.
I chopped my hair off for the first time in the 8th grade. It wasn’t long enough to donate at the time, so it was during high school that I began associate my personal (and female) identity to my hair as it grew long again. I chopped it off again in college – and this time I donated it.
I graduated college, started a new job, and chopped it off again. This made the 2nd time I donated my hair and I was feeling pretty good about it. It was around this time that I began to identify with being a ‘hair farm’. Here was a resource that my body produced – happy and healthy – that I didn’t need. So why not give it to someone who does?
Several years later, I changed jobs, moved to Cali, and donated my hair for the 3rd time. It was glorious. I felt like a new me. I was lighter on my feet (literally – my hair gets HEAVY – and metaphorically). I felt fresh and carefree and freed from this gender-identity I somehow began associating with my hair many, many years ago. I felt human again. This was in 2012.
In about 10 days I will be turning 30. I hadn’t thought much about turning 30 until a month ago when I realized that’s what was happening this year. I’ve reflected back on who I was, who I have been, who I have become, and who I am now a lot in these first few months of the year… some of which you can read here.
Photo by: Kimberly Reid Photography
So why do I want to donate my hair? Well, on the surface, it’s a pain to manage. It gets wrapped around my neck when I sleep, gets caught in my armpits (yep, you know you’ve made it when your hair gets stuck in your pits), gets caught in zippers, falls in the sink/my food/EVERYTHING, is hot, and clogs up the shower drain about once a week.
Most importantly, though, I know what my hair could be a part of – there is someone out there who needs it more than me.
I’m turning 30 next weekend and I’m ready to be a new me. A free me, a different me. In my twenties I spent a lot of time on me, and I’m looking forward to a new leaf of practicing more kindness, better listening, and selflessness. What better way to make that leap than with a drastic change to my symbolic identity?
I’m ready to just be human again.
So farewell to my hair. You’ve been so good to me. Treat your next head with as much personality and sass as you did mine. See you in another several years. <3
casey and her camera is an Indianapolis Photographer specializing in couple, lifestyle, senior, wedding and family photography for Indianapolis, Indiana and the surrounding areas.