God created a few perfect heads. He put hair on the rest of them!
Let me take you back 2 decades – tenth grade. I was content to have made some new friends in high school and had buried the fear of communicating in English. One day, at the lunch table, I noticed a few guys hovering over my head, trying hard to get a look at my scalp. I wrestled with curiosity and couldn’t wait to get home to see what made my oil glazed hair (combed like a two-way street) stick out. To my utter dismay, my hair had begun to thin. I was going bald. I knew someday nature would strike the dissonant chord of baldness (hereditary) but tenth grade was way too early for this truth to unfold.
You might wonder what the big deal is. In India (at least 20 years back), baldness wasn’t easily accepted as other parts of the world. There was a stigma attached to young men who were bald; elders believed that such men would have a hard time finding a life partner (considering a society that mostly believed in arranged marriages).
As a young boy, I shed a lot of tears and my parents intervened. They tried to console me and promised to find a solution. Desperate, I even tried a different hairdo to cover the bald spots on my scalp but it wasn’t the best remedy. My Dad took me to several dermatologists only to hear “like father like son”. The reality of going bald began to consume me and I began to develop an inferiority complex.
The spirit of acceptance engulfed my mind as I began to focus on more important aspects of life. My inferiority complex slowly vaporized and self-confidence took its place.
As years passed, I moved to different parts of the country and got used to the new me. There was no more staring at the mirror to convince myself that it’s the end of the road or seeking remedies that at best would empty my Dad’s wallet. The spirit of acceptance engulfed my mind as I began to focus on more important aspects of life. My inferiority complex slowly vaporized and self-confidence took its place. It wasn’t until years later that a friend of mine asked me to shave my head. It struck me like a lightning bolt as I had never thought of this option. Razor-on-scalp was too strong a move for me. I had to sleep over this idea for a few days and finally, mustered some courage and did it. Yes, I shaved my head! The only question that remained was “Why didn’t I do this any sooner?”
Suddenly, there was a fresh sense of freedom and I loved the newer me. To my surprise, a lot of my friends/family tagged me as the “cool dude” and some decided to pursue my “head-style” too.
As harsh as reality was, there were some valuable take-aways from this phase of life.
Imperfections can be a blessing in disguise – When reality reared its ugly head, my first question was “Why me and why so young?” As I experienced a little more of life, I realized that it isn’t all about the perfect, outward trims. It’s what on the inside that matters. Through my physical imperfection (at least in my society), I realized that my perspectives on life, love for people around, passion to spread cheer through my gifts, etc. were of more worth.
Imperfections help us appreciate people for who they are – I remember a conversation with a friend of mine who had a skin condition. He said, “Ranjith, it’s easier for people like us to accept others with physical challenges.” I believe an imperfection, however small or big, layers our vision with compassion. It helps us to see people for who they really are, beyond their physical challenges.
A Stronger you – On the other side of your physical imperfection, is a stronger you. A fully built, turbo version! Once we conquer our weaknesses and the fears that come along, we are better equipped to face life head-on.
Also, let’s not forget that there might be someone around who might appreciate a word of encouragement leading them to a more fulfilling life.
Do you have a story that has helped shape your perspectives? Please feel free to share your thoughts.