By Colleen Kratofil
November 12, 2015 06:45 PM

Nashville star Clare Bowen’s long, flowy, wavy locks are known to elicit a ton of hair envy (see here, here and here). But she just made a major hair change with a short piecey pixie after being inspired by a cancer patient’s story (hair envy remains strong).

The Australian actress wrote on Facebook about why she went short, and revealed she battled end-stage nephroblastoma when she was 4 years old. “I’d overheard the doctors telling my family that the only hope of saving me was an experimental treatment that might kill me anyway,” Bowen shared. “But without it I had maybe two weeks left.”

She describes her time growing up at the “White Palace” (a nickname her granddad created for the hospital) as a place where she was surrounded by children just like her, which meant they were all “in it together.” That meant that “no one’s appearance came into question. No one got laughed at or teased. We were all we knew,” she writes.

After beating the disease, she explained that even though she started to look strong again from the outside, inside she was still a “stitched back together little creature, in a world where people are judged so harshly for the way they look,” she shared. “It has always been completely incomprehensible to me. How can people think there’s time for that?”

So when she heard the story of a little girl with cancer who didn’t think she could be a princess because she didn’t have long hair, inspiration struck. “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.”

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And she decided to give herself (and on-screen character, Scarlett O’Connor) a pixie. “Every scar tells a story, every bald head, 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. 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.”

She went on to thank the network and show’s creator, Callie Khouri, for letting her change her onscreen alter ego’s appearance. “If it makes even one person think twice about judging another, then in some small way, the world is better.” She adds, “Self-esteem takes a lot longer to grow back than hair.”

What do you think of Bowen’s pixie? Love her Facebook message? Feeling inspired to go shorter? Share in the comments below!

–Colleen Kratofil