I am not my hair

Prior to my breast cancer diagnosis, I had very long hair. I’ve had long hair since high school, and I’ve taken great pride in caring for my hair and keeping its length. I never imagined I would have short hair, and I am not sure I would have ever cut it. When I knew chemotherapy was going to be part of my treatment regimen, I had to face the reality that my hair was going to go. I remember a day where I spent five to ten minutes looking into my own eyes in the mirror. I wanted to see beyond my hair. The day I cut my long hair was more emotional than the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a lump in my throat all day, and I felt so helpless. Either I was going to cut my hair or chemo was going to make it gradually fall out. I decided to take some control and make the transition gradual. I asked my dear friend, Carly, to help me cut my long hair to a shorter bob. Then my dad gave me a buzz cut, and just last week, we went for the GI Jane cut. During the buzz cut, I wept again. During the GI Jane cut, I did not cry at all. The anxiety is gone because I am so much more than my hair.¬†I am still transforming, and I know my hair will come back. My days are defined more by how I feel and less by how I look. I’m seeing new sides of myself that I may not have discovered without cancer, and I feel really … free.

Today, my brother Stan and my cousin John wanted to capture some photos of me with these beautiful vintage earrings I am borrowing from my friend Sammie. They said I could bring the earrings and some scarves and put on nice warm clothes to go out and take some pics. I surprised them by going a different route and using the shoot as a liberating moment where everyone can see who I am without my hair. The earrings were a fun touch, and I will cherish this day spent creating and laughing with Stan and John.


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