Last night I had dinner with a friend. When she arrived, she sported a freshly shaven head. My happiness at seeing her was matched by surprise and trepidation, as she’s mentioned having medical issues several times recently. Thankfully she is bald by her own hand and the reasons are complicated, like she is, as most of us are when you really get to the heart it.
My friend is on a journey–a spiritual, physical, psychological journey. She is paring away what is extraneous, purifying, eliminating the inessential to get to what has value, to see things from a new vantage point. How do people look at me? Am I the person that they see or believe they see? What is beauty, femininity, health? How do we make the right choices for our life and living?
Coincidentally (if there is such a thing as coincidence), I came to our dinner date from a doctor’s appointment. For more than thirty minutes, I had sat in my paper gown waiting for my doctor (who I respect & am very happy to have on my health team). The 20-something woman with the appointment before mine (who I’d seen walk by in tears) got some bad health news. My doctor, quite rightly, made the time to talk with her. Waiting didn’t seem like much to ask, given that perspective.
We are our bodies, our hair is (or isn’t) an indicator of our personalities and we are so much more than any of it. We are complicated creatures, the depths of which may never be guessed by a cursory assessment. I got a needed reminder of the importance of compassion. We humans may need it like we need air: breathe it in and breathe it out.