Sunday, August 31, 2008

Letting go is just so hard to do.

It has been quite a while since Fred and I ate at our favourite Sarawak kon lau mien place in Foh Sang area in Kota Kinabalu. This place in Foh Sang ranks top in Sarawak kon lau mien for us. The lack of legal parking space and long wait for a table is expected and endured by many, the two of us are no exception.

As we happily ate our much anticipated meal, a family of five sat at the table next to ours. The father of the family took my attention away from my delicious bowl of noodle. For here sat an elderly Chinese gentleman with part of his hair grown much longer and swept across the top of his forehead obviously to cover up the bald spot on top of his head.

My immediate impression of this gentleman is that he has some withdrawal syndrome to his hair loss issue. The image of the man just sitting there with his crowning glory stuck to my mind all day and later on, well into the night.

I spoke to Fred about this as we were driving around town and (bless him) he never noticed the man with the comb over hairdo. I asked Fred what he'd do if he were to ever lose some of his hair. His reply and I truly believe he'd do this is that he'd shave it all off, have his scalp shined and be proud of his new do. The image of him being the Asian version of Harry of SATC comes to mind!

I thought about men and embracing hair loss. I remember a time many years ago when my father lost a bit of hair from the top of his head. He experimented with every herbal and medicinal means introduced to him to save and breed his precious strands. They were oil, lotions, whatever potions, ointments, even porcupine needles! Did they help, no. Heck he gave up and just wore a hat. And so today, as he approaches 60, my father's bald spot is very much accepted by him and in fact his trademark some may say.

A few weeks ago, my own precious long mane was dropping. Fred kept pointing out the trail of hair I was leaving behind. So last week, after watching and being inspired by “Don't Mess with the Zohan”, we decided to go chop the hair. Better to lose in length than in volume we decided. I sat there under Richard's (our hair stylist) mercy. It was so hard for me to look up in the mirror to see myself with short hair. I'm so used to having long hair and the great possibilities I can play around with my hair. Hey, with my long hair, I could have put my hair up, tie it in a ponytail, french bun, braid it, have it curled, let down etc. The styling opportunities out there are endless with my long hair. Now that it was going to be cut short, what would be left to do?

And now as I think over this matter, the fear here is not so much fear of hair loss or letting go of the hair that has been part of us for so long. It is fear of the unknown. We are so used to seeing ourselves in a certain way and doing things the same way for so many years. And now things are going to change.

The fact is, whenever change dawns upon us, we all get scared, some get scared more than others while some have a tiny bit of fear and then focus their minds to find ways to work with the change that's happening. Sure we have to learn to do things differently, people will perceive us differently and where our hair is concerned – we'll look different. People may think that our short hair, or bald spot may not look nice on us, maybe even ridiculous. The more valuable judgment by others on us is not noticing the change that's happened to us, but how we dealt with the change. Life gives you lemons, go make tasteful lemonade out of them. Personally, I'd choose a bald guy over the long-hair-swept-over-the-bald-spot guy any day! People, be bold and go bald. As for my own very short hair do – I can still wear my Alice band, clip it on the side, tease it a bit here and there, etc .... the possibilities are still endless.