When I was young, I thought I was going to go bald.
It started with a conversation I overheard when I was six. My Mom was talking to a lady at church about my hair. I had very impossible, curly hair.
“Kids usually lose their curly hair when they get older though,” my Mom said.
Of course she was referring to the fact that hair loses its curl, but I just assumed that she meant because my hair was curly it was going to fall out when I grew up.
I didn’t immediately freak out or panic. But it was a fear that pervaded my life. A fear I had accepted but that stuck with me.
It was like being told by a large bully I was going to get beat up at the end of the school day and having to sit in my desk all day, accepting the inevitable pain but feeling dull fear in the pit of my stomach.
My execution date was set.
I never mentioned this fear to my parents. I never wondered why I didn’t see more balding curly headed people walking around.
I don’t remember when it occurred to me I wasn’t going to go bald anytime soon. It was a gradual realization, the kind that comes when your brain develops more.
Though I don’t remember very many specific moments from my early childhood without the aid of photos or home videos, this fearful memory has stuck with me.
The interesting thing is I haven’t completely grown out of it.
Trips to the hair dresser make me abnormally nervous. I don’t trust them. I just know they’re going to mess up somehow.
I’ve heard a story of a lady going to get her hair cut and her hair dresser had a stroke of some sort while cutting her hair. The hair dresser continued to violently cut and cut and cut the lady’s hair until someone realized there was something wrong with her.
That really scares me.
Before school started I went to get my hair cut. I told the lady I wanted a trim. I guess her definition of trim is wildly different from mine. She cut off more than four inches. That was a devastating moment when my fear was realized and confirmed.
You learn to get through a bad hair cut though. Life goes on.
Until the day my friend found a gray hair on my head.