"It's just hair."
That's the simple message on a photo of Clare Bowen with a pixie haircut, but there's an inspiring story behind why she cut off her long, blonde locks.
The "Nashville" star posted on Facebook on Wednesday along with the photo of her short 'do, "When I was four years old, I asked my mother; 'Are there heaters in Heaven?' I had just been diagnosed with end stage nephroblastoma, after several visits to a GP who denied anything was wrong and dubbed my parents 'paranoid,' she continued. "I'd overheard the doctors telling my family that the only hope of saving me, was an experimental treatment that might kill me anyway. But without it I had maybe two weeks left. The hospital was cold. I'd never felt air conditioning before."
She also described the children there with her.
"We were mostly bald, all tubed, taped, bandaged up and stitched back together. We were all missing parts, some obvious like eyes or legs, others more hidden, like lungs and kidneys," she wrote. "Those who still could, tip-toed around like little fairies because chemotherapy had destroyed the muscles in our legs and it hurt to put our heels on the floor. But we were all together, so no one's appearance came into question. No one got laughed at or teased. We were all we knew. "
Clare is a survivor. Her hair grew back and she gained strength, but she explained that there's more than meets the eye.
"I look relatively normal on the outside, but on the inside, I am still the same stitched back together little creature, in a world where people are judged so harshly for the way they look. It has always been completely incomprehensible to me. How can people think there's time for that?" she asked.
After she shared her own personal story, she opened up about what inspired her.
"I was really inspired when I heard a story about a little girl who said she couldn't be a princess because she didn't have long hair, and I wanted her, and others like her to know that's not what makes a princess, or a warrior, or a superhero. It's not what makes you beautiful either. It's your insides that count… even if you happen to be missing half of them," she added.
"Every scar tells a story, every baldhead, every dark circle, every prosthetic limb, and every reflection in a mirror that you might not recognize anymore. Look deeper than skin, hair, nails, and lips," Clare encouraged. "You are who you are in your bones. That is where you have the potential to shine the brightest from. It is where your true beautiful self lives."
Clare ended her Facebook post with a thank you to ABC and "Nashville" creator Callie Khouri for letting her change her character Scarlett's hair. She further expressed gratitude to her team, family and friends before expressing a powerful message for us all.
"Self-esteem takes a lot longer to grow back than hair."
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