"New do" you A Story of Finding Confidence Through Sacrifice

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to make a difference. Do something to make an impact. Help others believe that they can be whoever they want to be. One Saturday morning in 2013, I was sitting in the kitchen, scarfing down a bowl of Cheerios. The sun was flooding through the window, the light just hitting our dog as she laid peacefully on the couch. My mom sat in the office, focusing on research for her job. I heard her quiet steps trail into the kitchen looking for a snack. As she walked around, opening every cupboard, she began explaining her current research for her job. I remember hearing about the effects of cancer. As a curious fifth grader, I began to find interest in what she was saying. My emotions kicked in, and all of a sudden, I was ready to help.

One day in school, I overheard that a friend was planning on donating ten inches of hair to Locks for Love, and I automatically wanted to do the same. When I got home, I asked my mom about it, and luckily she was willing to take me along to her hairdresser appointment just next week!

For the days leading up to “the chop”, I searched through a magazine full of haircuts, obsessing over pixie cuts and showing them off to friends. My mom constantly asked if I was sure about cutting off practically all of my hair, but the decision was set in stone. Finally, the day I had been waiting for had come.

I hopped into my mom’s car after school one Friday and we drove into Cranston. As we came to a stop in the parking lot, I began to question my decision. We hopped out of the car, and the reality of what I was doing hit me, followed with anxiety. My emotions did not matter-I had already made a promise to myself, and there was no turning back now.

I seated myself in the black leather comfy chairs found in the salon. As I waited, I overheard my mom telling the hairdresser, Frank, all about my sudden need for a cut. As Frank cut the final piece of my mom’s shiny, brown hair, I walked up to the hairdresser’s chair, anticipating my “new do”.

All I could focus on was the anxiousness and nervousness that was coursing through me. “Chop”. I heard the sharp, silver scissors cut my brunette hair. I watched in the mirror as my hair grew shorter and shorter, eventually becoming even shorter than my brother’s hair. As Frank chopped away, he realized that my hair was 2 inches too short to donate. I became extremely upset that I could not help out. Even then, I was proud for making such a colossal decision, but in the back of my mind there was some sort of denial, some sort of fear of what others might think.

Of course, I had to show off my haircut to a handful of my closest friends, so I called up some people to show them the new look. I never knew if they liked my hair or not, but my friends stuck by me and were more supportive than I ever could have asked for through what would happen next.

On Monday, I had no clue what I was in for. As I walked into class, I watched as the attention in the room was drawn to me. I pretended not to notice and sat down, but all day my heart felt as if it had sunk into my stomach. Each day I grew more self conscious, stressing to find a new way to change myself so I would be appreciated by others.

I begged my mom not to go to school in the mornings, but she knew I needed to stand tall and fight for myself. I tried to be strong. I tried to ignore it all. The laughs, the silence, the looks, but worst of all the names. Each day I was ambushed with a new comment.

“Nice haircut, freak.”
“Are you trying to be ugly? Because it’s working.”
“What are you, a BOY?”

Fifth graders could be harsh.

I could practically feel my life plummeting to the ground. There was not a time when I wasn’t sad or trying to change myself. Eventually, I learned to be confident in my body no matter what, and to never change for anyone. This sacrifice has proven to be a truly beneficial experience, plus, it has helped others around me in becoming more confident in who they are and who they want to become. The fact that my choices impacted other’s lives in such significant way is truly amazing, and I am glad to have been a part of even helping just one person become more confident in themselves. This experience has proven to be a significant lesson throughout my life, especially with the pressures of today’s society on people everywhere, striving to be nothing more than who they are.

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