Maya Baker, San Fransisco:
“My hair was a huge part of my identity. Though there have been many crazy good (and some crazy not so good) haircuts, for most of my adult life it has been very, very, long. Once I was out of college, I never cut more than an inch or so off the ends. I loved my hair. “I will never cut it,” I told people who admired my long chestnut waves of hair.
Imagine my shock when, with two small kids, separated from my husband, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had to get a mastectomy. I had to get chemotherapy. It was a nightmare.
Losing my hair was the hardest part of treatment. I decided not to tell my kids what was happening until it started happening. “Mom is taking some medicine to make sure the bump in my boob never comes back. And if it works, you’ll never believe it- my hair is going to fall out. And guess what? It must be working, because my hair is falling out right now!”
My 5 year old daughter was amazed. She pulled on a lock of hair and out it came. She pulled on another and another, and before we knew it, we were surrounded by my hair. I was bald.
Fast forward 11 years, a reconciliation has happened, and I am cancer free. My hair was long again, very very long. I wanted to donate my hair- give back, support kids or women who have been where I was. I learned that it was harder to donate grey hair, and though my longer hair was still brown, new hair growing was grey. Now was the time. My friend Nicole cut it in her salon, and my kids came with me to the appointment. It was important to me that they be there, to celebrate giving, to celebrate health, to celebrate family.
My intention was to grow it out again, but shorter hair is awfully easy. My identity is my own, hair or no hair.”