As just about everyone who knows me could tell you, I have almost always had long hair.
When I was eleven, it was nearly to my waist, until the fateful day my mom agreed to take me to get my hair cut. I told the hairdresser to cut it to below my shoulder blades. She assured me that I had nothing to worry about, no problem, she'd give me the cut I wanted.
I had to remove my glasses for the cut, and being near-sighted, could really only make out a vague impression of my reflection as she snipped away at my locks.
When I was finally allowed to put my glasses back on and see the result, I found, to my horror, that she had cut my hair to slightly above my shoulders. I was upset, but as I could hardly insist that she put the hair back, I sighed resignedly and mom and I headed home. I spent the entire ride home playing with the blunt ends of my hair, trying to convince myself that it was okay, it could have been much worse.
When we arrived home, my father took one look at me, then without a word, turned around and went outside onto the sundeck. I found him there, crying uncontrollably.
I gave him a big hug and said "It's okay daddy, it's just hair. It'll grow back!"
It was several years before I cut it anywhere near as short again. In fact it's become somewhat of a tradition to let it grow very long then chop it off to just below my shoulders every four or five years.
The last time I did this was almost ten years ago. My dad had passed away a couple of years earlier, so I didn't have to worry about upsetting him by cutting off my "beautiful hair." I've had haircuts since then, but never gone shorter than falling to my mid-back.
Until last week.
Last Tuesday, at 3:30pm, I had hair that hung below my derriere.
As of 5:30pm, I had hair that hung to just below my shoulders.
I donated a 25 inch ponytail of hair to a group that makes wigs for kids suffering from cancer or Aleopacia.
It will take a while to get used to having hair this short (for me) again. We took pictures before and after the haircut, as my five-year-old niece said: "because it will be a long time before your hair gets long again." She informed me very diplomatically that she liked it both long and short, but she was glad we took the pictures so we would remember it long.
I couldn't help but think of my dad and that first drastic haircut, and whisper to him, "It's okay daddy, it's just hair. It'll grow back."