I didn’t have a lot of spare time this last weekend, but what little time I could eek out I spent with Jackie! She is having her big surgery on July 28th and these were my last face to face moments with her before Dr. McDreamy performs his magic. The fact that she carved out time to be with me when there are tons of people who want to see her made me feel really special. I love our goofy time, when we call each other Pumpkin Pants and Cuddle Kitten and make silly faces and everything is as it should be.
After BlogCamp ended, our friend Bella picked Mike and me up at our hotel and drove us down to Jackie!’s parents’ house about 40 minutes south of San Francisco. Jackie!’s hair cutting party was being held there, and there was NO WAY we were going to miss it. I rescheduled and rerouted our flight to leave later, and from a different airport. I had to be there for her – and Mike had to shave his head.
The party was PACKED. SO MANY people wanted to be there for Jackie that my heart was in my throat from the moment we arrived. Of course, it helped when we walked into the back yard and we were greeted with “HEELLLOOOOOOO SPOOOOOOOOOHRS !” from, of course, Jackie! herself. Nothing was going to keep her from having fun, so I had to join in. I’d brought Jackie! my extensive wig collection, so we decided to bust out the crown jewel .
Almost every guy at the party shaved or buzzed his hair. One of her friends shaved the anti-Turk symbol into his hair . Jackie!’s dad, brothers-in-law, boss, coworkers, ex-boyfriends, and college friends went under the electric razor. Even Jackie!’s tiny little nephews got tiny little buzzes . And of course, Mike shaved off his locks as well (and he looks damn fine, in my opinion). I am so, so proud of him.
I am struggling with finding the right words to describe how awesome it felt to be with all the people who love Jackie! and want to support her. And, I know there are many, many more that weren’t able to be at the party who love her, too. You know how when your favorite sports team, or band, or artist, has a huge game/concert/showing and everyone is so pumped and excited to be there, sharing the experience with everyone around them? It was like that, except with a lot more cheering. A LOT.
The thing that just floors me is that Jackie! had this party at all. She didn’t have to cut her hair before the surgery. She could have left it all there, and let the nurses shave off only what was necessary. Sure, it would have left a hella-ugly mullet, but she still would have had her long, gorgeous hair. Instead, she took matters into her own hands. She donated her shiny mane to Locks of Love , an organization that turns donated hair into wigs for sick children – usually, children who have cancer. That’s the kind of ironic Alanis wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. Jackie! invited 60 of her closest friends to come to a party, and we all cheered and laughed and smiled and tried not to cry as we watched her transform into another version of herself – a version more strong and beautiful than I ever could have imagined.
Some people may try to comfort her by saying “it’s just hair.” But it isn’t. By saying that it’s just hair, you’re saying that the choice she made to cut it wasn’t important, or empowering. By saying that it’s just hair, you’re not thinking of the emotions, comfort, and security attached to hair. You’re belittling the decision seventeen men made to cut their hair in solidarity. If you think it’s just hair, go cut your hair off like Jackie!. Do you have the courage to cut off all your hair? I don’t. I don’t, and I’m ashamed of myself for that.
Is Jackie! afraid? I’d say so. But she isn’t letting it control her. She’s taking it head-on and kicking its ass. With everything that’s happened to Madeline, I’ve never thought, “why us?” But I’ve spent many, many nights since June 24th thinking, “why Jackie!?” It’s clear to me now that now matter how much this sucks (and this really fucking sucks ), Jackie! will be able to handle it. I just hope that the rest of us can support her as beautifully as she’s been supporting us.