Over the past several months of advocating for the reunification of my former foster daughter and her mother, I felt a burning fire within me that was too wild to stay inside. But being a foster mom to an undocumented girl meant staying silent on a lot of details for the sake of protecting identities until reunification could happen.
For someone who writes her heart out, often to be published to the public, this was incredibly tough to do. So when I read Kathy's words toward the end of her book #RaiseYourVoice (Go buy it today on Amazon!) it clicked why I felt the need to cut my hair.
"Another way to wear your heart and voice on your sleeve is to dress a certain way," Kathy wrote in Raise Your Voice.
My friend Leah made reference to it when she first saw it. "You are on the battlefield," she said. And I shook my head, grateful someone understood. Even my foster daughter thought I looked ridiculous. "That's a boy's haircut," she told me.
But she was totally unaware of what felt like a long, hard road of advocating on her behalf to get her back to her mom in Central America. The two were separated at the border, and about two weeks after shaving a chunk off the side of my head, my husband and I boarded a plane with her and journeyed back to her hometown, making our way back to the arms she belonged in.
It was as though all that was within me had to come out somehow, so it came out in the form of a crazy asymmetrical haircut: a protest to myself and to the world that I would fight for justice for this little girl and for those like her.
When I cut it, I was reminded of those who would wail publicly in times of lament. This was my visible lament toward the 3,000 children who had been separated from their families at the border. Most of the time, I love the hairdo, other times I don't. But mostly it reminds me that one way or another the fire deep within my bones must come out somehow, even if not in words.
Thank you Kathy for your words and for reminding me of mine.