December 18, 2015

Intertwined lives – Intertwined beauty

Over the years, and they’re almost 9-10, I’ve kept on talking on this website about beauty, beauty tricks, about how to become more beautiful than we already are, by using cosmetics and other solutions provided by this industry. Yet, I’ve never talked about the greatest stand in for beauty and make up products, the most effective ingredient of beauty enhancement: noble-mindedness!

We, sadly, live in a world where we are being weighed up, labelled and judged by the way we look. We are being finger-pointed or being cast doubting looks if we happen to fall short of meeting the beauty standards society is used to. Well, cancer doesn’t discriminate! Why would we?

When I decided to donate my hair, I first thought I was about to give away some of my beauty. Later I realized that it’s not beauty that I’m going to be sharing, but rather a ray of hope, of optimism. Women diagnosed with cancer don’t need beauty. How could you possibly need something you already have?! Because the moment they had their hair taken away, their beauty remained intact.

It’s true, cancer does take away so much… Not just one’s health, but self-confidence as well. And confidence grows far slower than hair… Cancer, though, utterly fails in taking away beauty! Because beauty doesn’t lie in lush hair, long eyelashes or the colour of one’s eyes. Beauty is harboured in the way we think, not the way we look.

I, for one, have – for many years – defined my beauty through my hair. And I now believe I was wrong. I want to show myself that hair does not define who I am, doesn’t define my beauty, doesn’t define my success. Doesn’t define me! It’s just hair!

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It’s true that so far, for me, hair and not make up has been the central element of my beauty ritual. I knew very well I was able to live without makeup, but I’ve never imagined life without long, flowing hair.

And, yes, I used to constantly complain about it. That it’s not wavy enough, that it’s too fine, too soft or too thin, without sparing a thought on how much joy it has actually been bringing me, every day. Well, I want to share this happiness with someone. In fact, I want to donate the joy my hair has been giving me over the years.

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For me it’s going to be a test as well! Even so, I have no doubt whatsoever about my decision. Yes, I’m a bit nervous about my new look, but the happiness of bringing the littlest drop of confidence to someone who might have momentarily lost all hope is much greater than the length of my hair. And it will, actually, be the exact opposite of my new hair.

After all, it doesn’t matter how my new haircut will look. What matters is the smile of the person that is going to receive my gift. A valuable gift for the great attachment I had to my hair. I’ve look after and treasured my hair more than anything.

Working in the fashion industry, I understand maybe better than anyone the importance of hair in establishing one’s visual identity. And, despite this, I give it up. I also give away the visual identity I’ve had so far. All in the hope someone will have a slightly easier way through chemotherapy. But also in the hope of maybe achieving an understanding that hair does not define one’s beauty.

We’ve got to encourage people to look beneath the surface, much deeper than hair, skin or clothing allow us to…

It will be a new start, a new chapter in my life and, maybe, in that of the woman that will receive the wig. A chapter full of hope and optimism and (I hope) much poorer in prejudice.

My last long hair photograph!

My last long hair photo! 🙂

Especially so since starting the very moment we begin to talk, we are being brought up with stories full of fairies and princesses whose hair is often of a long, sweeping beauty… There’s no story featuring a short-haired princess. It might be one of the best examples of stereotyping beauty and one that we are seeded with from very early on. We grow up convinced that long hair equals femininity, that it’s one of beauty’s defining features. But is it really that way?

Yesterday I’ve been asked about why I’ve decided to cut away such beautiful hair. There are many other ways of helping people, without having to do something as drastic. But I’m wondering, what is easier to do? Give away a sum of money of give away a part of you? Literally a part of you…

It was the first time I felt compassion from someone. It was pretty clear she wouldn’t have done something like this herself. She mistook my gesture for self-mutilation. For a brief moment, she made me feel the sensation women diagnosed with this terrible disease must be feeling. The lack of hair, for some people, can mean being mutilated, incomplete. Only now I’ve better understood the impact looks and judgment have on a daily basis on those suffering from cancer, all piled up onto undeserved illness.

If before I only imagined it, I now understand why a woman undergoing such drastic treatment might choose to wear a wig. It’s enough having to do battle against the disease without having to also muster the energy to fight misconceptions.

I wish all women undergoing drastic treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, could genuinely have the option to choose. That of, free of cost, choosing a natural hair wig that could restore some of the look they have grown used to, or to choose not to wear one. But in order to truly facilitate the first route it takes our contribution!

That is why I invite all women who feel closeness to this cause to donate 15 cm – the minimum donation – for a noble cause. It’s a matter of 15 cm of hair that are bound to be turned into kilometres of hope and optimism.

And if your hair is short, you can make a monetary contribution for the making of these wigs. It is quite an expensive process (about EUR 200 for a short hair wig and EUR 330 for a long hair one), and some donors haven’t managed to also cover this cost. Reason why, Fundatia Renasterea needs your support for the actual turning into wigs of the already donated hair.

Therefore, I invite you to be brave! Be brave and start a new chapter in your lives with a #BraveCut or a donation made to Fundatia Renasterea!