Part 1 of 2. When I got sick and lost the ability to do basic self-care without severe consequences, my hair became one of my biggest battles. There were days when, if I managed to shower at all, the act of lifting my arms to wash my hair would trigger pain, shortness of breath, feeling like I was going to black out, and it would often result in me being bedridden for the rest of the day. Can you imagine? Can you imagine what it would be like if washing your hair was the only thing you managed to do in a day? I struggled with my sense of dignity when I reached the point of needing to be showered by someone else. I struggled with knowing that it had been ten days since I had last washed my body and feeling like I was curling up inside, shielding myself, not wanting anyone to come near me in my perceived state of filth. I felt lesser. I knew the hair needed to go. But I resisted. It had taken so many years after a horrendous haircut years prior to grow it long again. I loved it long. I didn't want this illness dictating yet another part of my life and robbing me of something else I wanted. And truthfully, there was a part of me that couldn't shut out the twisted beauty standards of our society and this belief that I would no longer be perceived as beautiful or attractive by anyone, but most importantly, my husband, if I lost it all. Many times I was told, "You should cut it all off". I knew it came from a place of love, concern, and wanting things to be easier for me. But it hadn't come from me. Not yet, at least.