Insecurity can lead you down a path of looking outside yourself to what others think at the expense of finding the right one to love.
Eighteen years old and going bald. It wasn’t life or death, but it sure felt like it. In my mind, life was over and my reasoning was quite simple:
Bald at 18 = Ridicule = No friends = No girlfriends = No wife = Die alone.
As more and more hair ran down the shower drain each day, I knew I was going to fight it, but how? It was the 90’s. My options stunk. If I chose a hair transplant I would have a “connect the dots game” eternally played out on my scalp. Back then, if I shaved my head I’d look like a Neo - Nazi or a Hare Krishna. And so I found myself faced with the excruciating dilemma: toupee or not toupee?
What would my life look like with me hiding under a toupee? There would be strong winds, hair ruffles, critical stares, and unpleasant categorizations. (“look there goes the guy with the rug!”) I would be forcing myself to keep a secret just so I could try to control what others think of my appearance.
Without hair who would I be? What kind of girl would date a guy who was bald as a baseball in a sea of heads that sprang forth endless luscious locks?
In the face of this sea of troubles, I made my choice. I joined the Hair Hat club. I swore my family to secrecy and told myself that if I got a toupee this young, people would think I just grew a little more hair, sort of like a chia pet.
Here’s how attaching fake hair to my head worked: The technician took the available hair on the sides of my head and interwove them tightly with a clump of real Asian hair purchased for a tidy sum of three thousand dollars. She then tied the sides tightly to my existing hair. (Think tiny Boy Scout knots tied for maximum security.) Finally, a metal clip was sewn in underneath the front of the Hair Hat, then pinned down to the three or four remaining hairs I had left on the top of my head. All of this had the effect of unrelenting tension, a non-surgical face-lift and a constant reminder that there was something sewn onto my head.
I longed for a normal night‘s sleep. After a reattachment session the braids on the back of the hat pulled every time my head hit the pillow, so I found new sleep positions in order to avoid post traumatic “toupee cut” disorders. A shower required me to unclip the front just to funnel shampoo to the back of my scalp.
Hide and Seek became a game I lived daily. In conversation, I studied the other person’s eyes. Recognition usually began with a slight stare at my eyebrows, then a glance at my forehead and then a full blown glare at my hairline. Is that real? Is something wrong with his head? Is that a TOUPEE?! I imagined that every person I spoke to could see the truth and it was my job to distract their attention away from the lie.
“I think you should just shave it off”, my wife calmly stated after four years of marriage. Right before I proposed to Brooke, I came clean with my follicular secret and discovered, to my astonishment, that my Hair Hat merited no more than a shrug from her.
“But don’t you think people will wonder why all of a sudden this guy’s bald as a cue ball? I said.
“I don’t think people think about you.” Brooke said.
And with that, it finally hit me. I’m married to the girl of my dreams. How could I have been so wrong? No one in the world cared about the number of hairs on my head except me. I had everything I wanted DESPITE my toupee. In minutes I had squeezed glue dissolvent on my head, yanked off my painful secret and threw it in the trash. It was the first time in seventeen years I was able to take a shower without working around a hat of lifeless hair.
I often share this story with clients who are looking to find someone to spend their life with but are afraid of what the “other will think” if I say “this” or do “that”.
The truth is, and not to say this in a mean way but “I don’t think people think about you.” Not that they don’t care or love you. They just revert back to what we as humans do - get lost in our minds thinking about ourselves.
This can be used to our advantage as we date, get into serious relationships, and then maintain them. We may think that the other is constantly thinking about us. But that is not the case. This then frees us to be who want to be, to love who we want to love and feel confident knowing that ultimately we can only focus on our own thoughts (barely)
Letting go of whatever your “ Toupee” is, isn’t easy. That’s why I love to coach people so they can let go of things which prevent them from finding the true love of their lives… themselves.