It’s done, and it wasn’t all that traumatic. After more than three years of growing my hair out, I cut it off. I did it for a number of reasons, but ultimately it was time for a change. I have had long hair or been in the process of growing it out all of my life. Ever since it has been my choice, I have never had any sustained periods of short hair. My mother allowed my to make that choice at a relatively young age, and I have never changed my mind.
But at various times for various reasons I have cut my hair. As a die-hard non-conformist, I have always struggled with the decision and in that respect this time was no different. However, circumstances are such that for me to maximize my potential as a writer, for employment - as a messenger … as an agent for change - conformity is a necessary evil. There are other reasons for this seemingly drastic change in appearance as well. There is also one direct benefactor… more on that in a moment.
In life, there is an ongoing cycle of seniority. We are constantly clawing our way to the top of the heap only to start at the bottom of the next heap. We go from grade school to high school… then to college or career, but always there is a pinnacle beyond which is another ladder. I have just reached the top of one heap and now must start at the bottom of the next. Although my accomplishments at Sacramento State are noteworthy, even impressive (final semester grades just in: Three “A” and one “A-” for a 3.925 GPA), they are only footnotes on my resume now. I have to prove myself all over again.
I can’t do that unless I get my foot in the door and although I don’t know for sure if my hair would get in my way or not, there is that chance and past experience tells me it is a pretty good chance. It might not be fair, but it is nothing new. These are the rules and if I want to work in the professional arena, I must look the part. I know how to play the game; I’ve been here before. Once I am established and I am judged on my work, I can grow my hair as long as I damn well please - now is not that time.
Like anyone else, my appearance reveals much about who I am. But it does not define who I am. If that were true, I would have become a different person the moment the scissors cut off those 13+ inches of hair. Nothing has changed. The sun still rises in the east, dogs still chase cats and I am still the same person I was yesterday. Those who know me know this, but those who do not will now give me a chance; that is the difference. I am talking about employers, publishers, politicians and policy-makers. It is a world I must infiltrate and now I am cleverly disguised to do just that.
How, where and even if I will benefit from having short hair is and always will be unknown - at best an intangible. But there is one absolute benefactor; I will be donating 13+ braided inches of healthy hair to an organization known as “Locks of Love.” Their mission statement:
Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics.
Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.
It will not be simply swept up and thrown away. This is, in my humble opinion, reason enough to cut off my hair and although I will certainly benefit personally, the truth is I already have. My hair will live on… it will help some child who is suffering from the same irrational judgment from hair loss as I was from having too much.
Game, set, match - we win.