I am a shy person, and I have always had trouble making new friends. During middle school, however, this was especially true.
When I was just starting middle school, one of the members of my church spoke of how she had donated her hair through the organization “Lock of Love”, which provides wigs for cancer patients. After the church service I asked my mother if I had nice hair and whether or not a woman might like to have hair like mine. She laughed and said “Cody, you have gorgeous hair. Any woman would kill to have hair like yours.” Wondering why I had asked, she was completely surprised by my next question, “Can I grow my hair long so I can donate it?” Understanding dawned and she hugged me close and whispered, ‘Yes you absolutely may,” in my ear.
The first two years of middle school passed relatively uneventfully, but during the third year things started to get “hairy”. Loose relationships began to dissolve and it became harder to make new friends. Soon, the only people who had a kind word for me were teachers and classmates I had known since grade school. Everyday I was ridiculed by other boys for having long hair and looking “like a girl.” My female classmates generally ignored me. Some days the loneliness and teasing were simply too much for me to handle, and I would climb my favorite tree and cry in solitude.
I was not, however, entirely alone. Often during these moments when my emotions overwhelmed me, my mother would comfort me and remind me of why I was doing what I was doing. Then she would ask if I wanted to cut my hair, and I would always refuse, not willing to end it without accomplishing my goal of donating my hair.
In the end, my hair was a full twelve inches when it was cut. In just a few minutes I went from long flowing locks to a flat top. I would never meet the person who was to receive my hair. Still, it felt good knowing that because of me they wouldn’t have to go through any torment similar to that which I suffered.
From this whole experience I gained a great deal of knowledge about human nature and about myself. I would even say it played a fundamental role in shaping who I am today. It taught me that words can hurt, sometimes worse than physical harm, and it taught me that you shouldn’t take to heart what others say in ignorance. I began to understand what humans are capable, both good and evil. It has made me more empathetic, less quick to judge and very forgiving. It solidified for me what is important in this world; Principles and ideals are worth sacrifice and pain.
I still have trouble meeting new people, it’s just the way I am, but now I am content with the knowledge that I am a good person.