Chop Chop… it’s gone!

When you feel the need for a change, try to find a way to help others while you are at it.

There are times in life when we feel that the changes we are going through mentally and emotionally, somehow need to be reflected in our physical appearance. There are other times when your hair becomes too difficult to manage and you just want to get rid of it…. and sometimes it’s a mixture of the two.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve cut my hair short, although it might be the shortest I’ve cut it to date; and possibly, the longest it ever was before I chopped it off. I had been thinking about cutting it for months. I first thought of cutting it if I lose a certain amount of weight, then for my 35th birthday, then if I get a particular theatrical role, but I just kept postponing for some reason. Truth is, I guess I really like my long hair too and I know that it will take a while to grow back, so it took a while to convince myself.

Come December, the urge to chop it off came back quite strongly. I felt the need for a change and a little trim wasn’t going to satisfy that desire. I needed something drastic, possibly to reflect a newly found sense of freedom I was feeling, as I was released from a  heaviness that had been weighing me down for such a long time. There was one thing that I had wanted to do however, if I were to cut my hair short again. Something that I hadn’t managed to do before, and was determined to do it this time round. I was sure that if I was going through with this, I wanted to cut my hair short enough that I’d be able to donate it.

So during a colour appointment, I had a discussion with my hairdresser and ran my idea by him. He seemed somewhat reluctant, but knew that it would be pointless arguing with me. This wasn’t the first discussion we had about the topic after all, and he had already done this wild chop about 5 and a half years prior, for me. We proceeded to set another appointment for the following week, and by then I had to decide whether I’d just add a few layers, to change the style a little, or go for the big change. I spent all week mulling over the decision (thank you overthinking brain for the wasted energy). But when I went for my appointment, I walked in nervous and excited yet determined, and told Josef Karl, my hair guru, “We’re going to do this! But make sure to cut enough for me to donate it this time!” Josef obliged and cut off a whopping 35cm! I literally couldn’t believe that I was holding this incredibly long, thick ponytail in my hands and I was so excited about it. Oh yes… and my head felt soooo much lighter for it!

The head feeling lighter thing might sound a bit ridiculous, but I promise you, it’s really not. Keep in mind that our heads are already the heaviest part of our bodies. Having this thing growing from it and constantly pulling it down, makes it feel heavier. We don’t realise of course, but the weight is there. Unfortunately I didn’t weigh the cut off ponytail to give factual figures.

The donation process is also incredibly simple. Locally, you just have to let the hair dry off well, wrap it up in paper towel and put it in a plastic bag, then drop it off at the Malta Community Chest Fund offices, in Old Mint Street, Valletta. It takes just a couple of minutes as they ask you to write down your details because the country’s President will then send you a thank you letter (see below). In my case, their offices happen to be just a few doors down from where I work, which made the process even simpler for me. The only drawback is their limited opening hours. However, according to their website, you can also drop it off at the President’s Palace in Pjazza San Ġorġ, Valletta, or a few other places. Check out their website here, for more details.

I would encourage everyone to do this at least once in their life! Knowing that your hair – something that you probably take for granted most of the time, or complain about because you struggle to style it on bad hair days – is going to help someone that’s going through a difficult time feel better about themselves, is a wonderful feeling that stays with you, even as you wait for your hair to grow back. Besides, you might love the new look so much that you’ll decide to keep it. You could also experiment with different styles at different lengths as it grows back. One thing that I will recommend if you decide to go for a drastic chop, is to have it done by a hairstylist that you really trust. Josef Karl of JK Hair Salon has been my hairdresser since I was about 16. He knows exactly what I like, what will drive me up the wall, how my hair stays, how difficult it can be to style and tame, etc. I think having such a relationship, and having someone truly understand your hair is crucial when doing something like this. The after care is also very important. You want your hair to grow back strongly and healthily, which will also help it grow back faster. In my case, I haven’t cut it again (not even trimmed it) since the big chop, and in about 3 months, it’s already grown by about 4 centimetres.

Excuse the not so great image, but this shows what my hair currently looks like.

For us, it’s just hair. We’ve got plenty of it and it grows back… rather quickly might I add! For others however, having the donated hair turned into a wig, can be absolutely life changing, whilst they face the greatest battle of their life. You get to experience a different side of yourself, with a different style, other people try to ‘re-find’ themselves with a wig, so I’ll encourage you once again to consider a chop and a donation, at some point in your life.

Should you have any queries about hair donation, please feel free to get in touch. I’ll happily try to answer any questions.

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