In the summer of 1995, I saw Andre Agassi on television, competing at Wimbledon. But gone was the signature styled long hair. The man had shaved it off. Buzz cut. Chrome dome. Clean as a whistle. He later admitted to wearing a hairpiece and even credited the worry about it falling off as cause for him losing a Grand Slam event.
I remember thinking at the time, if he can do it, I can do it.
I shaved my head that summer.
Like a lot of guys, I had thinning hair and I was tired of fretting over it. Fortunately I have a descent shaped, Blue Man Group-quality melon that was conducive to not having hair. So I assisted Mother Nature and removed what was still clinging to my scalp. I never regretted it and never looked back.
There was a weird adjustment period though. The looks of surprise from people I knew took some getting used to. My standard short explanation when people asked why was, “I wanted to look like Agassi.”
But even for myself, looking at my mug in the mirror, it took awhile for it to look normal. Every day for several weeks, I would startle myself when I walked into the bathroom first thing in the morning. But over time, that image became normal and now I don’t even remember what it was like to have hair to take care of.
I’ve recently noticed a similar transition in my new life. My first thoughts in the morning are not always about what happened ten months ago. I don’t move through the day out of a sense of what is missing. The identity of widower is no longer my predominant reference point.
I’m rediscovering myself. Who I am, instead of who I’m not. I have a new rhythm to my day, new patterns I have settled into. I’m doing much better.
Wholeness looks different now. I no longer react the same way to the new image I see in the mirror.