I was a shy kid growing up. I hated speaking in class, I was easily embarrassed and I never ventured far from the clutches of my father’s leg.
As I grew up, I morphed that shyness into insecurities about who I was and how other people saw me. I became a chameleon, tailoring how I acted and what I said to whoever I was around at the time. I latched onto the strongest personality in the room and did everything I could to make sure they liked me. I made a lot of friends that way, but it was at the expense of my self-worth.
So when I started going bald at age of 17, you can only imagine the self-deprecating tailspin I found myself in. It was a free fall that lasted almost 10 years, a majority of which I spent in college flailing my arms trying to grasp hold of any available morsel of confidence. I had an awesome time in college as I failed to meet women or have girlfriends (that sounded sarcastic, but it really was fun despite an unbelievable cold streak). I ran from my hair loss and hid under a variety of cheeky foam trucker hats, ashamed of what people would find underneath.
It wasn’t until I embraced the impending doom of my receding hairline that my confidence began to swell. Shit, I even started to consider myself lucky for having a baby doll dome and bushy-ass eyebrows that nicely frame my baby blue’s. I had gone through a minefield of insecurities and came out the other side with confident resolve.
I was bald and I was proud of it.
Of course, it didn’t happen overnight. My budding ego relied heavily upon my friends saying shit like: “You know, you’ve got a pretty good looking head,” then I would follow up with: “bald is the new hair” (I even had t-shirts made) as I began to make light of the fact that I was so follicly challenged. By the time I was a couple of years removed from college I was comfortable enough with myself to approach women without sending my heart beating out of my chest and onto the barstool next to them in a puddle of vodka, soda, and freshly squeezed plasma.
It sounds weird, but going bald taught me how to love myself. Hindsight always shows us how foolish we were to have such burning insecurities, but I think we need to go through those things in order to grow into the best version of ourselves.
None of this is to say that I’m no longer susceptible to the weight of insecurity. Sometimes I’m still that shy kid peering over my fathers khakis, but now I’m much better equipped to face those demons and cast them aside. The only advice I can give to those going through something similar (which is just about everyone) is to accept that fact that you think there is something wrong with you, even if there isn’t. Accept it, face it, laugh at it, move past it. That’s what ultimately helped me.
And now I can look back with a wry smile and say, “thank God I went bald.”