I strive to live my life in chapters because there’s a sense of growth and momentum toward the future, giving permission to the different periods of my life so that they may have a beginning and an end. Not every chapter is as perfect, or as profound, or as difficult as the chapter before or after, but they transition into each other, and hopefully, like any chapters in a good book, they just keep getting better.
As most of you know because you took this journey with me, in this recent chapter of my life I was there when my friend got the news she had terminal cancer. I was there when she wanted to fight for her life. I was there through her final days. And in the end, I was there to celebrate her life with everyone who loved her—the only way we all knew how—with tons of laughter, tears, music, stories, and some good ole Texas fun.
I’m forever changed by this experience, seeing my friend in ways I’d never seen her before. She couldn’t have been more beautiful. Most people would’ve given up when everyone, including a team of experts, had given up on them. But her dignity, integrity, and grace grew from her courage, and I’m renewed because of it.
In my own personal way, I wanted to do something courageous to honor Kelly and thank her for so many amazing years of friendship. When her father bequeathed me a lock of her hair, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Kelly was a magician with hair, never wearing the same hairstyle or color twice. She knew just how much a fun hairstyle or a glamorous new ’do could lift someone’s spirits.
For me, my hair has always been my thing. In fact, my hair bought me my first house, thanks to an international hair campaign. My agents never let me cut my hair, and for so many years, I let it define me. I didn’t have the courage to be without my security blanket. But when Kelly’s friend asked her how she’d feel if she lost her hair from chemo, Kelly waved it goodbye. It didn’t have a hold on her. And I never want anything to have ownership over me either.
So, in honor of Kelly, I did my research and found out that Children’s Medical Center of Dallas (where I used to volunteer), accepts wigs from Pink Heart Funds for their kids battling cancer. My best friend Kathryn said she was in, and together we decided to donate our hair in honor of Kelly.
Kathryn lives in Arizona and went to her salon there, and I went to see our Model Behaviors’ friends Rachael and Charlie at Hair by Charlie, for my hair transformation.
It was such a cathartic release to see my hair carefully tied in sections and chopped to the point of no return. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel doing it, but as Charlie set each bundled section down in front of me, it was as if I could close this chapter, and know in my heart that I’d rather strive for more courage than a lion.
Now, I’ll strive for as much courage as a Kelly.
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