Remember that story about Samson and Delilah? Delilah cut off all of Samson’s hair, with the result that Samson became a wimp. Well, he lost all of his strength, or something like that. Anyway, it changed him. Something similar happened to me when i cut off all of my hair.
Last time, I wrote about my childhood (and still) best friend, Judy, and how she is going through chemo to help her recover from breast cancer. So in support, I had my long hair buzz cut.
There are some interesting things about this ongoing experience. Firstly, I’m not bald, like she is (although she reports her downy fuzz is back and this time, she’s leaving it alone – you’ll just have to read the other blog to know what that means) – event at the very tightest setting on the clippers, I still had stubble. It was like a two-day growth of beard on my head.
However, with all my luxurious locks laying on the salon floor, I did feel something. Like Samson, I felt weak. Vulnerable. As if there could be something wrong with me. I didn’t want people to see me without hair because it felt like they would think there was something wrong with me. I used to get stares and then (usually) smiles, because my hair had some crazy colors in it. I think people smiled because they, too, wished they had colorful hair. Right after my extreme hair cut, I did go out a few times just wearing a baseball cap on my buzz-cut head. People started, and then quickly looked away. And I felt….sick. Like I was sick because I had no hair.
Interestingly, as my hair grew (and unlike friend Judy, my hair didn’t pause to think about it while digesting the whole chemo process – it grew with a vengeance), I started to feel better. My spirits rose in direct proportion to the length of the stubble. Imagine that. It told me a lot about what might be going through the mind of someone who did not have a choice about what their hair did, or looked, at least at first.
I’ve had it cut back twice now since the original cut. That initial feeling of weakness hasn’t returned, probably because I know how quickly it will be long stubble rather than short. I often go out in just a baseball cap, especially if I’m merely making a quick trip to the bank or grocery, and people still stare and look away, but it no longer bothers me.
Judy’s last nasty chemo session, if all goes according to schedule, will be September 21, and then we’ll both start growing our hair out again. I look forward to new “do’s” over the coming months.
I will admit to enjoying my really, really short hair. It’s easy to keep clean, dries in a jiffy, and doesn’t flop into my eyes. I wonder if Samson felt that way, too. Did he realize his strength was not in his hair, his outward appearance, but within himself? Did he start to enjoy the freedom his short hair gave him? What I wish for anyone who, through no choice of their own, has to endure an outward change like no hair on their head, is this realization: Within you is incredible Strength. Love. Peace.