One of my deepest fears about getting older was that of losing my hair. I was petrified of going bald. My father lacks a large proportion of hair; in fact, I’ve actually never known him to really have much. His baldness basically ingrained in me a life long fear for myself. They say it skips a generation or is passed down through the maternal side but I somehow always knew it was my fate. Sure enough, shortly after I left university, I started to notice a steady decline in my hairline. I went to many a doctor in an attempt to prevent the inevitable and ended up paying out large sums of money for hair restoration creams, pills and lotions. I kept the medication up for quite a few years, everyday leeching a virile substance into my scalp, with the mistaken belief that having a full head of hair would make me more loveable. It was definitely making me poorer but was I gaining anything from it? I still didn’t have a girlfriend at the time, so it hadn’t helped me there.
Three years into my hair therapy I started my meditative journey and was introduced to a lifecoach called Elizabeth who uses a methodology from an acting theory, called ‘the science of acting’ to coach people into a new way of thinking.
At my first session with Elizabeth, I told her about my issues with my hair and she quite succinctly told me to stop damaging my body with dangerous substances and learn to love myself for who I am. I genuinely, on that first meeting, decided that I would buy no more of the lotion and I would instead learn how to love myself without a full head of hair. Yeah, the coverage started to diminish gradually but I didn’t look on in horror at my receding hairline, I just saw it as a natural part of life.
As I began to embrace my baldness, I realized that there were actually some advantages to having less hair. For example, I no longer had to worry about bed head or having to style my hair in the morning. I could just roll out of bed and start my day. Plus, I no longer had to deal with hair in my food or hair clogging up the shower drain. It was a win-win situation!
But let's be real here, going bald isn't always easy. There are some downsides too, like having to constantly wear sunscreen on your head to avoid sunburns. And let's not forget the awkward moments when you run into an old friend who hasn't seen you in a while and they don't recognize you because of your lack of hair. But hey, at least you can always use the excuse that you're just 'rocking a new look'.
A few months into my love of going bald I was subsequently offered a heavily discounted, chemical-free hair restoration programme that involved the healthy hairs at the back of the head being surgically removed and then grafted into the receding hairline at the front (a process that is normally very expensive). The promised result was that I would partially regain my once-full head of hair.
When I was offered the opportunity to undergo a hair restoration procedure, I initially thought it was a joke. I mean, why would I want to spend thousands of pounds to regrow my hair when I had already embraced my baldness? But then I started to think about all the potential perks - like being able to try out new hairstyles or impressing my friends with my luscious locks. I instantly said no to this idea because I basically thought that it would make a mockery of my self-loving stance in trying to cover up the problem. I thought it would make the messages in the blogs seem shallow if I didn’t stick to everything that I have put forth. I dwelled on the offer for a few days and eventually put it to Elizabeth, expecting her to congratulate me on my selfless act of balding gracefully. Her reaction was quite the opposite.
She applauded me again for loving myself enough to no longer take part in unsubstantiated restoration trials of potentially harmful chemicals. That, however, didn’t mean I needed to turn down the opportunity to mindfully, safely and self-lovingly put myself through a procedure that would restore my hair to how I wanted it to be. Just because I had learned to love myself with a balding head of hair, making the choice to replenish it gracefully (rather than responding to an idea of pressure or requirement to do it) meant that I could do so, and with my head held high. Sure, it doesn’t bother some people if they go bald and they might actually prefer it that way. I had accepted it to a certain extent, although following on from the head injury I had in 2007, with my hairline slowly receding over the unsightly point of impact, to be offered a procedure to retain coverage over that area and to subsequently install in me a revived sense of self-confidence, suddenly seemed like a very plausible idea. I still loved myself without much hair but given the opportunity to be able to mindfully and lovingly have one or the other, I chose to cover up my shiny scalp. Just as with loving another, in loving ourselves, we need to be willing to change our stance.
In the end, what I learned from my journey is that it's important to love and accept yourself for who you are, whether you have a full head of hair or not. But if you do decide to change your appearance, do it for yourself and not because of societal pressure or expectations. After all, life is too short to not have fun with your appearance and try out new things. So embrace your inner baldness or invest in some hair restoration - just do whatever makes you feel confident and happy.
May I mindfully accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed. May I cultivate the courage to change the things that can be changed. May I discover the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.
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