The last month was a very difficult and trying time for me. For starters, the weather wreaked havoc on my body for a few weeks. The temperature would bounce from a low of 40° F one night to a high of 80° F the next afternoon with rain and pressure changes every couple days. Not only did this make it impossible to plan for the weather, but it also caused my chronic pain to be worse than usual most of the month. On top of that, I got a letter from the Indiana Department of Revenue stating that I was being investigated for not filing my 2012 state taxes. Even though I did not live or work in Indiana that year, received a refund for the state that I did file in (so having me refile would only cost them money anyway), and knew that it was a clerical error of some kind, any time you get a letter from the government about your taxes it puts you a little on edge. A couple days after I received that wonderful news, just to put the icing on my cake of misfortune, a prescription for one of my pain medications went missing. Due to the fact that the prescription was for a “schedule 2” controlled substance, along with the nationwide issue of people abusing prescription narcotics, getting my missing script rewritten so that I could get my medication was extremely difficult (a story that you will be hearing soon). Dealing with all of these obstacles, in addition to all of the typical stresses of daily life, made the last four weeks quite an arduous and troubling time.
As the great philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, wrote, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” I completely agree with this concept, as throughout my life I have seen countless times just how true this statement is, and I know that without having to overcome the obstacles I have faced during my life that I would not be the strong, confident person I am today. Knowing that getting through this challenging period would eventually make me a better man however, while comforting after the fact, did not make going through this troubling time any less stressful. There were definitely a couple days that I let my problems get the best of me, and all I wanted to do was find a hole to crawl into, hide until everything was taken care of, and let someone else deal with all of the problems plaguing my life. Thankfully, through the enormous amount of support from those close to me and the power of meditation, I was able to eventually find the courage and strength to fight through all of this adversity and put an end to these issues. Despite successfully resolving my troubles and becoming a stronger individual though, the anxiety and frustration I felt during this period still weighed on me even after I had gotten my life back in order. All of the emotional strain and stress that these obstacles had caused was so great that I needed a way to cleanse my mind and spirit of all of this worrying and get my mind “back to neutral.” I needed a way to close this horrible chapter of my life, turn the page, and start anew with a fresh beginning.
As you have seen in the pictures I have posted, I am blessed with amazing hair. I do not know if this was the trade off for having SMA or what, but I have a gorgeous head of hair. My lovely locks have natural wave, lots of volume, and grow in layers that many people pay money to get. Being a huge geek that was more interested in having a hairdo that was easy to maintain than being stylish, I kept my hair extremely short for the first 25 years of my life. A few years ago though, I decided to let it grow for a while. Given the fact that nearly every male in my family tree had minimal hair by 40, I figured that if I was ever going to take advantage of my magnificent mane, that I better do it soon. So I let it grow for a few months until it was about chin length, and I got so many compliments on my new “do” that vanity kicked in, and I decided that I was going to just let it keep growing. After a couple more months, as it was growing passed my shoulders, I made the decision to let it grow until it was long enough to donate to “Locks of Love.” For those that do not know, “Locks of Love” is a non-profit organization that provides wigs for children with life-threatening illnesses who are suffering from hair loss. Having grown up with a severe disability, I know how much of a difference looking “normal” and healthy can be when you are fighting an illness every day. I figured that if I could put forth no effort, and my beautiful hair could make some sick child’s life just a little bit better, that I had to do it. In order to donate your hair you have to have a braid that measures at least 10 inches, so I knew that I would have to spend another few months growing it out, but this took minimal work so I let it grow. Even though I started this endeavor purely trying to do a good deed, little did I know that pursuing this goal would end up being as big of a benefit to my life, as it was to the child that gets my hair.
As I let my hair grow for several months to reach the minimum length requirement, I ended up getting kind of attached to my marvelous mane. My long, lovely hair became a part of my identity. When people would meet me they would not immediately focus on my wheelchair, but instead they would comment on my hair. It was really nice to have people comment on something good about my appearance, and not the fact that I was disabled. I got so used to this praise that even after I had 10 inches to donate, I did not cut it. After more than 18 months of growing it out, whenever my friends or family would ask me when I was going to cut and donate my hair, I would say that “I was too busy this week,” “that I was going to make an appointment tomorrow,” or any number of other lame excuses that I could come up with to put it off longer. This procrastination probably would have gone on forever too, if not for the hellacious month that I just endured, and my need to cleanse myself of the stress and anxiety I had overcome.
Despite the fact that I had gotten my world back in order after such a trying month, as I mentioned before, I was still suffering from some of the effects of all of the mental and emotional strain I had endured. I needed some way to rid my life of these negative emotions, and I also needed to replace them with more invigorating and refreshing feelings. I was thinking about how to best go about this one afternoon as my nurse was going through the arduous task of washing my now 20 inches of hair, when it came to me like a flash of lightning. It was time to cut it. Getting rid of my precious, flowing locks was the perfect way for me to cleanse my mind, refill my spirit, and symbolically turn the page on this chapter of my life, which would give me the opportunity to start again, fresh and rejuvenated. This act would do something good for someone else by giving them my hair, which would fill my heart and spirit with positive energy. Just as importantly though, it would also be a representation of how I am putting an end to this difficult period, separating myself from all of the struggle and anxiety I was feeling, and moving forward with a clean slate and full heart. It would be a metamorphosis on multiple levels, and it would give me everything that I needed to move on with my happy, fulfilling life.
Going through this major makeover in my appearance was the catalyst I needed to move beyond the difficult month I had and start anew. It changed me in multiple ways, and the combined effects gave me everything that I needed to move forward successfully. First, the warm, fuzzy feelings I felt from doing this good deed and donating my hair washed away the stress and anxiety I was still suffering as result of my horrible month of obstacles. Second, these good emotions filled me with a positive energy that will fuel me as I start fresh. Lastly, the change in my appearance will act as a reminder of everything I was able to overcome, and how I was able to turn the negative effects lingering in my mind into something beautiful (plus, I think I look damn good this way). With my rejuvenated mind, full heart, and new look, I have everything I need to kick off a new chapter in my life filled with happiness and success.
No matter who you are or how great your life is, you are going to go through periods of time when your problems will get the best of you. When you feel like you cannot escape the negative feelings that are plaguing you, sometimes it is necessary to shake things up. Whether it is a change in your appearance, your career, or your social circle, making a major change in one area of your life can act as a catalyst for change in other areas. By undergoing this type of metamorphosis, you can create a domino effect of positive change that can greatly improve your life. If you are lucky, as I was, in doing this you may even be able to make a major impact on someone else’s life as well. Think about your world and your happiness and take the time to look at any negative feelings you may have. Ask yourself if there is some way for you to shake things up and rid yourself of these emotions. Change may be hard, but if you go through this metamorphosis correctly, with a little luck you can grow from a lowly caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly.
If you are ever in the mood to make a change in your “do” and hack off a large amount of hair, be sure to check out “Locks of Love.” This really is a great organization that brings a lot of happiness to sick kids who really need it, and it requires next to no effort to donate. If you are going to cut your hair anyway, why would not you take the opportunity to change someone’s life. All you have to do is put your braided donation in a Ziploc bag, print and fill out a very brief form available on their website, and stick it all in an envelope with a few stamps. It literally takes about five minutes of your time and less than $2.50 in postage, and you can give something to a child that they will cherish forever. Even if going through the process of mailing it is too much work for you, many salons will donate it for you if you ask, which even gets rid of this minimal amount of effort. By donating, when you get your stylish, new hair you will feel as good on the inside as you look on the outside.
Did this article leave you wondering something? Are you curious about a certain aspect of my life? Do you want to know my favorite color? Submit your question to “Roll Models Mail Call,” and I will do my best to answer it in a post.