I Once was Bald, but now I’m Fine
Building from Balding (written in 2004 for ENG-111)
It’s hard to have a nickname you don’t fit anymore. Since second grade, I have had the nickname “Curly,” which was originally given to me by my grade school principal. I was even announced at my graduation as “Corbin Curly Rose.” People would always play with my hair because it was a curly fluffy poof – it was my ego, my pride, it was me. But, of course life is not going to give you something that makes you happy with yourself for too long – and so my saga unfolds…
“You wouldn’t be Corbin without your curly hair,” was and is a comment I often hear from others. Girls would say it looked cute and had taken to messing it up and playing with it – the usual childhood flirting games. I would be at ease knowing that I was not one of those kids who always had a comb and constantly worried about if my – hair was straight or not – I had no worries – mine couldn’t be straight. People liked that I didn’t care, and that I did my own thing. It gave me confidence, no doubt, because I actually liked the way I looked. It gave me the self-assurance and charisma to act outwardly – thus meeting more people who liked my presence.
Well obviously its time in this story to stop living in the past and present the current situation. I’m going bald. No way around it. All good times through the years of being Curly now seem to be blotted out by a shroud of comments and teasing I will have to endure for a good chunk of my life. A seemingly carefree child, when confronted with this hereditary pride issue, can crumble when faced with the weakness-seeking missiles spewed forth from the mouths of peers.
Seeking a hopeful refuge at a wintertime church camp, I hoped to be surrounded by a purely positive conducive environment with no negative comments or teasing. Hold up! As much as I love my friends there – teens are still going to be teens wherever you are. It’s the social hierarchy system that will always govern class in a group of teens. Through the duration of the camp, some dorm-mates took to holding me down and pushing back my hair so that the (now formed and growing) crowd could easily see my receding hairline, and of course, then laugh.
I hold no grudge against this now – how many times have we all said things without realizing the negative effect it may have had on someone. But recently I have had a revelation. It came from something unexpected: I was watching The Incredibles (the Disney/Pixar movie) and before the movie they had several sort little cute animation movies. One of them dealt with a tap-dancing sheep (as most stories do) who was on top of the world until he got his wool sheared off by a human. He then looked like a tiny little pink rat, and all the other animals laughed at him because he had no wool. The moral of it of course was that he was happy with himself in the end anyway, and everyone accepted him again. Well, the main message was a bit corny for me, yes, but I was saying to my friends afterwards that that little movie made me feel better about going bald. After a slight pause, they started cracking up to no end, and said it was the most hilarious thing they had heard all day. I had said it in a small insecure voice, and they assumed I was just joking around, and adored the comment. Thus the revelation – the tactic of humor vs. hair loss! You don’t have to have a full head of hair to make people laugh – and when people laugh you regain confidence.
The fact of the matter is that men think that women see head hair as an attractive trait of masculinity, whereas that’s not the first trait in their minds. (www.askmen.com) According to the American Academy of Dermatology, two out of three men are developing some form of baldness! If women care only about hair, my sympathy goes out to them. If nothing else, women are more geared towards personality/humor/faith/ sensitivity and various other non-physical traits than males are. So instead of trying to look like Fabio, why not just have a heart-to-heart talk and speak your mind. That gains more points than a comb can.
“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” This is a common phrase you hear. This applies to basic human thinking – life would be oh so much better if they looked like Orlando Bloom or Johnny Depp. Well chances are probably not. We always want to be better in some way, mainly from all the stereotypical standards set forth by the media-driven culture of today. Everyone always hears that it doesn’t matter what you look like, and I’m sure we’ve all said that to people, but why then do we not apply it to ourselves. If we realize that not everything revolves around physical appearance to us, why can’t we just believe that other people believe that too?
So I have realized that humor can in fact overcome teasing about hair loss. I have, for a long time, used humor as an aid to cheer up saddened friends, so why not try to help myself out a little bit too? People see you for who you think you are – so if I get down about the fact that I’m going bald at 18, people are going to see that I’m an insecure person (which leads to stereotypical preconceptions about personality and character); whereas if I am confident about it and show that I don’t care, they won’t care. I know that I am more than my appearance, and that God has created me with unique talents and traits. I don’t blame my dad for being bald – I am reminded of the saying that God only made so many perfect heads…He covered the rest of them with hair.