The first time I donated my hair, I cried. I cried because after having my head shaved for brain surgery a few years earlier, my hair had become this incredible source of anxiety. I remember vividly, seeing myself in the mirror after my surgery and thinking I was the ugliest person in the world (I was 14 at the time so I didn’t have the greatest self-esteem). I remember asking my friends and family repeatedly if my hair looked ok and eventually, they stopped hiding the frustration in their voice. And honestly, it didn’t matter what they said, I never believed their affirmations anyway.
Given the extent of my injuries and the trauma I had survived, I was surprised that it was my hair that bothered me so much. I think it was the fact that, unlike my scars, I couldn’t hide my half-shaved head with clothing (although I tried with many headbands). It was the fact that, as much as I wanted to blend in, I couldn’t. Every time I looked in the mirror, I was reminded that I was the victim. Unfortunately, my friends didn’t get it. They said I had changed and become self-absorbed. I don’t blame them. As they say, you don’t appreciate what you’ve lost until it’s gone.
A few years later, my relationship with my hair took another hit because of my eating disorder. I had patiently waited for my very unwanted mullet to grow out and now my beautiful hair was falling out and straw-like. I remember waking up with my pillow covered in hair. I actually stopped brushing my hair for fear that it would all fall out. Finally having healthy hair has been one of the best parts of my recovery.
This is why I choose to donate my hair. It’s true that, for those receiving these wigs, there are probably a million other things to worry about but, when your entire world is turned upside down, any opportunity for normalcy is a blessing.
I was surprised by how easy it was to donate my hair this time. To me, the fact that I was so willing to part with my hair signals how far I’ve come. I love my hair but I’m no longer as self-conscious. Having healthy hair is a sign that my eating disorder is no longer in control. I know what it feels like to loose my hair, and that’s what made it easy to give away mine.
I decided to donate my hair to Wigs for Kids because they do not restrict which children receive wigs (any child with a medical condition that results in hair loss can receive a wig free of charge). It was an added bonus that Wigs for Kids is a Canadian company located at Sunnybrook Hospital (where I was treated for my trauma). If you are interested in making a donation, you can check out their criteria here.