When I was little, my mom would take my sisters and I to the salon in town to get our haircut frequently. We’d march in and rely on pictures, the style of our american girl doll’s hair, or instructions of my mom. We’d have cute puffy hair for the rest of the day until we jumped into the pool at night.

Eventually, I stopped getting my haircut. I was never one to put too much time into my hair. When it was short, I could brush it without it getting poofy, when it grew I would brush it and throw it up into a pony tail.

My hair was in a pony tail every single day of middle school. But I didn’t know how to make it one of the cool ones like the popular kids had. Mine was not on the top of my head or off to the side. My hair stayed parted and my poof of hair was uncontrollable. Add it in with the acne and well, a middle school nightmare.

Despite my feelings towards myself, and the one kid that decided to take the time out of my day to call me ugly between classes, I made it through middle school unscathed, avoiding what could have been a blood bath. In high school, however, I made a change.

I discovered a straightener, the cool way to wear a pony tail, and the fact that if I braided my hair the night before, I’d wake up with some wavy locks. Of course, the chlorine, I might as well have been rubbing into my roots, didn’t exactly help. But there were products, and special shampoos and secrets that I eventually discovered.

The summer of my junior year of high school I decided I had had enough of my hair. Not wanting to ask my mom for money and definitely not wanting to use my own, I decided that donating ten inches would not only score me a free haircut but freedom of the hair.

It was cute, still long enough, and admired for the fact that I had donated it to someone else who needed it more than me.

Weeks before my freshman year of college I did it again- fully immersed in the idea that I could save money on shampoo in college. The person I was dating at the time said I looked so much better… Still don’t know how great of a compliment that was.

The Christmas after my sophomore year I did another full 12 inches. This time, a different boyfriend asked me not to cut it until after his family’s Christmas party. For schedule reasons it had to happen after but when asked if he liked it I never got an answer…

The week before Christmas 2018, two years after, yet another boyfriend to impress, I paid to have it done. Now, Great Clips does it for free but my mom advised me that the salon she went to was stellar, and everyone on the planet advised me not to try to get layers done from great clips.

$65 dollars later, I walked out with dream like hair. Shampooed and conditioned, 10 inches lighter, and my goody bag of hair in my hand, I walked out of the salon like a million bucks.

(Though I know it doesn’t matter, the newest boyfriend LOVES it.)

To this day, I have donated over 44 inches of hair, over 3.5 feet! Four more people can wear my hair, the five of us thrilled about it.

A great event that takes place in my hometown each year, St. Baldricks, raises money for pediatric cancer research. For 5 years, my sister would raise money and shave her head. One of those years my youngest sister did it with her. I never had the guts to do it, I like my hair too much. But I found that by donating I was doing it for the cancer patients too. The most recent ten inches is the first after my dad lost his own cancer battle.