What is beauty? Some may say it comes from within… But in the teen and young adult dating ages a sad reality is that beauty is judged on looks, end of story! Although people like to preach how they date people because they are funny, or kind… reality is that, primarily the first attraction is based off of physical appearance. Look at popular dating apps such as Tinder!
My whole life I’ve had long golden blonde hair. People that know me would most often describe me as more “high maintanence” than the average girls who simply pin their hair back into ponytails everyday. I was raised with two sisters, and my moms motto for us was always “pain for beauty” as she ripped throughout our knots daily. I’ve had horror hair cuts, a perm to bring my pin straight hair to kinky curls in high school, i’ve burnt my hair, it has turned orange and green for that matter! For me, the length of my hair no matter what the style or color never changed. I was able in a way to hide behind my hair, when i’m nervous, I would pull it in front of me to cover the nervous hives I typically get, If I don’t want to wear makeup, as long as my hair was down I never felt ugly.
I am all for hair extensions and weave, the past couple of years I have been known to wear long hair past my mid back. When I’ve gone on my many service trips, my extensions remained in tact and I would be the one waking up an hour early to put on my makeup in front of my travel mirror despite 100* weather and knowing it would simply all sweat off my face! I’ve spent endless amounts of money on Pureology hair products, and am known to drive 5 hours home to simply keep my stunning locks healthy by my hair dresser Jessica Santos from Tangles Salon in Easton, PA.
On November 4,2015 I decided that my cancer diagnosis would absolutely not take anything away from me… I would be in complete control throughout this “health hiccup” as my Hubby (so amazing to finally call him that) describes it! My hair does not define me! I have always been my sparkly, giving, happy, generous self… And although it was important for me to maintain my physical appearance, I am still me! I will let you in on a tiny secret… I may come off as this strong girl who is out to kick cancers butt… which I most definitely will! But, even after hearing my diagnosis, and facing the doctors as they described my upcoming treatments and procedures… Truthfully the thing I remember crying about most at night was losing my hair!
I refuse to “look sick” during this short part of my life! Cancer can attack my cells, it can force doctors to pump poison into my veins, I may shed tears because i’m entirely hormonal as I go through fertility treatments, and I do cry, but it’s natural! I can promise you one thing, I will never ever ever ever give up!
“I’m Britney Bitch”! Okay, well i’m actually Meghan, and although its funny to my sisters and I to refer to myself as Britney as I held the razor to my head, I truly dont mean to make fun or be offensive to Britneys rough patch in life! Actually, i’ve learned a lot through her! Britney Spears has always been an idol to my sisters, cousins and I. We attended countless concerts, collected every sticker, and spent endless money on fan memorabilia! Refering myself to Britney and her hair shaving event keeps a smile on my face… So deal with it people!
Anyways, I decided on shaving my hair for many reasons. My sister Jillians friend and angel looking down on us everyday, Jeaneane was diagnosed with a glioblastoma at the age of 14-15. We were young, but we also witnessed the challenges and insecurities she faced losing her hair as a high school aged young girl. Jill and her amazing group of friends never left her side, and when the time came to Jeaneane beginning to lose her hair, the girls all rallied together and cut off their long locks to make her feel more comfortable, as well as donate their hair to Beautiful Lengths to help other young girls feel more normal with wigs etc. I very specifically remember Jeaneane getting a new wig and the girls were so excited. To our surprise though, she didn’t thoroughly enjoy it. I remember her complaining that it was hot or itchy, and she felt more comfortable wearing thick headbands in the front of her head where she had thinning hair, she was comfortable, beautiful, and still able to sparkle and shine as a Pocono Mountain West Cheerleader!
On my first appointment to my oncololigists office, and after hearing I would be undergoing aggressive treatment through chemotherapy, one of the first pamphlets I was handed was a wig catalog. I opened the book which on the covered showed a beautiful middle aged woman with bright eyes and a pink hair wrap around her head. The horror came to life as I scanned the pages of the book to see nothing but hair caps, wraps, and literally old people wigs! I instantly began to cry. How was this happening to me?!?! I was a cheerleader for much of my life, I walked on homecoming courts in High School and College, I always had long golden hair and now I’m supposed to look through this catalog and buy a grandma wig thats going to make me look like a Golden Girl?! Um… NO!
My sisters, my rocks and foundation throughout this journey instantly came up with a plan. Knowing my goal of maintaining my sparkle and never looking sick, we had to do something and that something had to be fast! My middle sister Samii, aka Samii Ryan is a model/ actress/ accessory designer currently living out In LA, she reached out to some of her friends and there we found our options! An amazing company L’Avant Garde Hair pledges to “allow you to improve or change your appearance through effective and unique designs. With professional touch and process, your hair can be as stunning as what you have always desired”. Another group of angels were sent into my life! They have very generously decided to take my natural hair and turn it into a wig with my very own long golden locks that i’ve spent endless time and dollars to maintain throughout my life! Told you cancer… You messed with the wrong girl! I have a plan for everything;)
Finally, the day to shave! Obviously I pushed up my wedding and planned it in two weeks to have my natural hair, although looking back wearing a wig would have saved so much time because most of them are already styled! I never want patchy thin hair just because that isn’t me… So I made the decision to shave my head and have wigs for occasionas that I want to have long hair— im like the real live Hannah Montana! I can go GI Jane or Barbie in the same day! AND, being a newlywed… I can practically be any fantasy my new hubby would like;) quit simply too.. Just a change and tightening of the wig straps!
I chose to shave my head on Novemeber 4, 2015 because the following day would be the starting day of my chemo treatments. With L’Avant so graciously taking my hair to make a wig for me out of my very own hair, I had to have healthy hair follicles to send in, and turn around time would be 2 weeks! AMAZING! My fabulous videographer and great friend Paul Saunders from Shofilms whom I can’t rave enough about, dedicated his time to come to my home and capture the event! I facetimed my mom and cousin Cindy, and after parting my hair like Angelica Pickles from Rugrats, with scissors in hand… I took charge and cut my first ponytail.
The sound of hair cutting always terrified me, because Ive had sooooo many horrible cuts, and normally would panic if a hairdresser would take off even my dead ends! As I cut through my ponytail, that sound I used to associate with terror, was still frightening because I was literally cutting off my own hair… But it was inspiring because I was not about to let cancer win! My sister Samii took the scissors to the next ponytail, my little sister Jillian to the next, and my loving husband with the help of my sisters of course, cut the fourth ponytail off my scalp. I held up the mirror and looked like a HOT MESS, something like my head literally got caught in a lawn mower! I may have panicked a tiny bit… But My cousin who was facetiming in had her staff at Pocono Medical Center in the background encouraging me and telling me how beautiful I truly was, hair or not.
It was time… We plugged in the clippers and away we went! This was my chance to be Brittney! I attempted shaving a mohawk straight down the middle of my head, but being that Ive never done this before… The videographer, Paul had to step in the help! A little while later… My head was shaved! My sisters held up the mirror and I wasnt ugly, I didnt look like a boy, and my beauty hadn’t disappeared! Looking back at me was the reflection of me… I was still Meghan! I still had bad eyebrows;) hahahah, drawn on lips, fake lashes… And my sparkle hadn’t disappeared!
I am here to stay, hair or no hair… Barbie or Chinchilla! I will forever Sparkle On!
Please check out L’Avant Garde Hair Studio for more information on natural wigs and hair alternatives*