I came home from visiting my lifelong best friend just a few weeks ago. The visit was more than thought provoking and yet heart-warming on various levels and I will get to this. Let me reference it by stating that I had not seen her in twenty years! Now, fast-forward to one week after the visit when our MAKEOVER MEDICINE team did makeovers on two fairly young gals one in her 20’s the other in her mid 30’s…
Now you are asking me, ok Jackie, and the punch line is…??????
Here it goes, my dearest friend was still going through chemotherapy and had lost all of her hair, which they told her at first would not happen. She had spoken to me about losing her hair over a phone conversation prior to my arrival and at the time, she said that was the worst part of the entire process! I felt really badly and knew my friend; prior to not seeing her for 20 years was not a vain person, in fact, she is quite the contrary. This statement stuck in my head for a long time before I mentally processed it because I don’t like to address bothersome topics. It wasn’t until we started the process of picking the two gals for the MAKEOVER MEDICINE segment that it hit me! Cutting one’s hair can be a huge emotional crisis for some and having to shave your head unwillingly due to F’in cancer is quite a SIGNIFICANT MOMENT IN TIME for most. You know what I learned though, at least from my dear friend with cancer, is that the topic of losing her hair was not about the hair at all. I will get to that shortly in the meantime stay with me here.
The two young gals each possess very long beautiful locks and they both assured me that it would be ok if we cut and styled their hair. I personally know both of these gals and in NOT thinking about the emotional journey of it all, I realized I was just thinking ‘wow this is great because we can really show the talents of our team and it would show some beautiful yet definitive results’. A bit selfish in a sense, but really I wanted to open them up for something new and different. However, something about cutting their hair to prove a point began to hit me, and it didn’t seem as important as I thought more and more about it.
I came home and started researching emotional attachments to one’s hair and I found that ALLURE magazine had dedicated an entire issue to the “culture of hair!” At that point, it became very HAIR APPARENT, that these ladies were just being polite and probably did not want to chop off their locks…or they would have and that they were just doing so for me and my series. I decided to talk to the pros and we decided we would leave the hair longer and do two beautiful long cuts, hence leaving my friendships intact. As it turns out, it was a good choice, because on the day of the MAKEOVER MEDICINE, there was certainly some anxiety when it came to the haircutting. Not just a little, a lot!
Now, jumping back to my friend…I started reminiscing about all of our monumental moments in history when it came to our HAIR, and only then did I see how much our hair was such a big part of our identity. There was the ‘FARRAH FAWCETT’ hair, the BO DEREK braids, the curly perms and uh, the green hair color and a lot of tears. However, this is not the most important lesson here.
Through this experience I’ve pretty much decided that hair is more important than we think in life. Historically, there is a massive amount of importance and literature on the hair that frames our faces…from braids and beyond, literally all around the world.
I am going out on a limb here with this statement, but, I believe, for most of us, our hair does or has defined who we are, along with our sexuality… and how AWESOME is that.
And, do you know what I learned from my beautiful friend? Hair does not always mean so much to us if it’s our choice to cut it or shave it, but when it is taken from us, it usually means the worst word in history F’in CANCER! When my friend was talking about her hair, in hindsight, she was really talking about her mortality. Her hair was just a symbol of vitality and life, keeping in mind, my friend is the furthest thing from vain. But, ya know what, I was comfortable with the conversation being about hair—instead of death, because that’s just too sad to process.
By the way, my friend is doing amazingly well and has gone through her last round of chemo. God bless you my friend!
And with all of this said, I want to express to all of you gals…embrace your hair, from curly, to kinky, straight, extensions and every color in the rainbow! Once again, this is why I love fashion so much. You can change the way you are without changing your identity and that’s liberating. Have a great week and thanks for the read!
P.S. Remember your hair can be your best accessory for both men and women!
Jackie Beard Robinson