I Finally Donated All My Hair

  • Post category:Self

It was kinda scary

Hair donation package delivered to Locks of Hope on 19 April | Source: Author


In April 2024, I donated all my hair to Locks of Hope Association. It is a hair donation platform in Malaysia which helps to create wigs for cancer patients. In this article, I share my personal story regarding my hair donation journey. Mixed with my thoughts & feelings before, during and after.

Story Time

The wait that would never have ended

From 2021, I started to grow out my short hair (aka “mushroom head”). And at some point in time within the last 3-4 years, I thought of donating my hair (full-length). I don’t have any big mighty reason. I wanted to do so simply because I could and I found it a waste to just cut my hair off.

By the end of 2 years mark, my hair had already hit the minimum length required for donating (15cm). However, I continued to let my hair grow longer as I kept procrastinating and putting my plans off. Until only last year, I told myself a few times: “ok, I’m gonna do it soon”. Yet, I found myself delaying taking action whenever a social event popped up.

October 2023: Friend’s wedding

Mid-December 2023: Overseas trip with family

December 2023: Christmas

February 2024: Chinese New Year

During Christmas, we would have a big family gathering for dinner. And during Chinese New Year, there would be a lot of house visits to relatives. And I really didn’t want to entertain any weird questions or remarks…

After Chinese New Year, I felt that it was finally a good time to do it. Unexpectedly, I received an invite from another friend to her wedding at the end of March. Again, another big social event. So I held off on my hair donation plan once again.

Then came April 2024. By then, I realised that there will always be social events coming up. Like the next overseas trip, company dinner, mingle event, holiday, or friend meetup. So if I kept postponing my plan, before I know it, another year would’ve passed.

Source: quotefancy

Checking in with myself and taking action

The truth was: I was scared of judgement.

I was worried about how I’ll look in other people’s eyes after all my hair was gone. So I was waiting for a perfect time. A time when I wouldn’t have to meet anyone for a long enough period of time, so that I didn’t have to deal with any judgement.

Weirdly enough, being aware of this fear and acknowledging it, gave me courage to take action. I told myself:

“I want to do it, but I’m scared, so I’ll just do it scared”

So I decided to bite the bullet and headed down to a hair salon near my house on the evening of 11th April. I also asked my good friend ZH along for emotional support, in case I chickened out at the last minute. Thank you very much ZH!

The surprising result

Within an hour, the deed was done. There I was, looking at my full length hair, nicely tied up into 4 bundles, placed across me. And the next moment I was examining my clean shaven head.

My hair cut for donation on 11 April | Source: Author

While my appearance changed, I found my reflection as familiar as it has always been. And then a gush of happiness and empowerment washed through me.

I finally did it!! Woohoo!!

In the next few days that followed, I felt so free and renewed. I also grew quite fond of my new look as well! Along with that, the concern of how others looked at me vanished right there and then. I wasn’t bothered at all about whether people were alright with how I looked.

When I walked out in public, I didn’t have this looming thought of whether people were staring at me and what they thought of me. This was really quite surprising to me, as it was literally what I was worried about before entering the hair salon. Instead, I just continued my life as per normal, going about doing my own things.

I guess we really don’t know what’s on the other side of fear unless we try.

Thoughts on the curious minds of others

Whenever I met people who hasn’t seen my new look before, I knew that they would probably wonder what happened to me. Even so, I tended not to initiate talking about the situation, simply because I don’t owe anyone any explanation and my new look was not an issue that needed to be addressed. I don’t need to “ease” people into being comfortable with my current state. It’s up to them to get used to it as time passed.

That said, if people politely asked me, I would gladly respond and share my story 😀

I’ve noticed a few different reactions of the curious so far.

Those who knew me beyond acquaintance level would ask me straight away at the point of encounter. This was the most expected response one can anticipate.

On the other hand, those who just met me or are not so familiar with me would often contemplate for a while before daring to ask me about it. And they usually asked in a more private 1-to-1 or closed group setting. Upon asking why so, I learnt that it was because they were unsure if I was comfortable enough to talk about it, which touched my heart. So, to those people, thank you for being sensitive towards others!

The last camp was of course those who were curious but didn’t ask at all. I suppose if they didn’t ask, then they can only assume. A part of me did feel quite bothered, because what if they assumed wrong? But then a larger part of me also knows: “So what if they assume wrong? It’s not my issue” 🤣 I’m not responsible for the image of myself that lives in other people’s heads.

Silly me and my worries

Before cutting my hair, I was worried that bald me would look like a boy and it felt disturbing to be recognised as a boy at first sight. Gender is a core element of one’s identity, so to be misgendered feels awful. Previously when I had short hair, being labelled a tomboy, though not unusual for me, felt uncomfortable nonetheless.

Fast forward to today, I didn’t want to have a repeat of that experience again. It certainly didn’t help that my mother was initially quite resistant to my decision. She told me that I could cut my hair short instead and still look nice in photos. She also questioned why I wanted to shave my head, as if I’m like a boy who was enlisting for army. Sigh…

But all thanks to my “stubbornness” (or conviction), I can look back and think to myself how silly I was to worry so much! I am still a women regardless of how I looked. My facial features are feminine, with or without hair. In fact, I don’t feel as attached to my hair anyone, it’s more like an accessory to me. On days where I’m feeling slightly more confident than usual, I would even think to myself: “where got boy as pretty as me?” 😅

Haha, on a more serious note, I believe that what’s within will show on the outside. A few people have told me that I looked more radiant and refreshed, which I was delighted to hear.

Thankfully, I’ve not encountered any disrespectful people, except a few instances where old uncles stare at me for way too long than needed as I walked past them. But I just let that slide and carry on.

Ending Note

My greatest takeaway is that when you really want to do something, but you’re afraid / terrified / worried, then just do it scared. Don’t let what others may think hinder you too much. And when you finally do it, no matter the outcome, the sense of empowerment that follows is beyond words!

Thank you for reading!