Of Self Vanity and Growing Up With Hair

"Vanity". An oft utilized word to describe one's attempt to look more than well and good, to the world around them.

"Vanity", to a Stroke victim (or at least me) is the last thing on my mind, even if it was the first in my days before.

Loads of folks used to ask me; "Why keep long hair?", which my answer was simple; "Because I am vain." To which many a folks could not grapple the straight forward answer with. I'd explain further that since I am not a "handsome man", I'd rather be a "unique-looking man" because of my long-hair (and as well beard ;p). Again, most folks cannot seem to grasp that concept, which I find extremely strange.

Frankly, I am not THAT vain enough I will work out and have swish ads or rock-hard biceps, I am purely, just "lazy-vain" in that instance, I reckon ;p .. anyways...

Lying in the hospital bed, the last thing on my mind was any sense of vanity or "looking well", in any way shape or form whatsoever, as are most patients, I surmise. I'm not going to comb my hair early in the morning because I wanna look well for the doctors or nurses. I'm not gonna worry if my shirt was well pressed to greet visitors for the day. Frankly, I do't really care if I looked well in the least bit, besides having the ability to walk free again then! My priorities have changed since the medical-event (FYI: I've decided to call it the "medical-event" because it is hardly an illness or sickness, this happenstance I call Stroke).

Tis funny I mentioned the long hair earlier in the post, as the "evolution" of which, happen to have paralleled my personal "growth" stages these past four months.

[I do not look all that awesome in a braid, do I? @ CGH]

When I first had Stroke, the longest part of my hair near reached my waist (I did not trim the hair, hence the wild growings). Lying in bed, I remember the nurses braiding my hair, because it was difficult to maintain, while giving my sponge baths (no, I did not enjoy my sponge baths) in the early days of Stroke. Being braided was funny only but for a coupla days, then from a Chinese-warrior soldier, I had become a wretched looking poor country folk, when the strands of hair became disheveled.

Keeping my hair long for a span of 5 years, I reckon I had become very attached to the comfort long hair provided. (I loved the feeling of hair sweeping pass my nap, truth be told). A decade ago I've kept my hair long for a couple of years, before National Service came a knocking, and I'd shorn my locks to fit the mold, like many a Singaporean men in Reservist. And I'd realized having my long hair now, had become a "security blanket" somewhat, or perhaps a "shield" I had possessed, that kept me blocked from everyone outside my world.

Truth be told, not many a folk like to chat with a guy with long hair (and beard) hahahaha.

But long hair and Stroke, did not mix. So when someone offered to cut my hair in the Ward, I'd surprisingly agreed to have it done. At that point, I wasn't exactly in the mood to be vain, yah know? I had just wanted manageable hair, that did not get in the way of me recovering. There no longer was sense of comfort, but a burden of the past, that had still clung unto me.

[My "Mad Violinist" 'Do, but without the violin]

Ironically, the first hair cut I had in five years, was not exactly a pleasurable one. Till now I refer to it as the "Mad Chinese Violinist" haircut. Being totally racist (hey, I'm Chinese in the first place, so don't need to go on a rampage here!). The wavy locks made me look like a dude trying to be hip, with said locks flowingly jumping as I performed on my violin actively (no, I do not play the violin). Maybe I'd seen the hairstyle on such a person on the telly or something, but nothing pops into my conscious-mind, so that is that.

I might have made some wrong turns in my journey, but I know what I want, tis just trying to ind the way to get there as fast, without the wrong turns.

Vanity did somewhat reared it's ugly head around that time, as I had become quite conscious of how I looked in that hairstyle! Not in a decade have I felt like that! It was so "bad", I had even a comb in my drawer in the hospital! I had not carried a comb for 5 years and now this? I was flabbergasted went in fact I should be more worried about learning to walk again!

A chance came when I decided I wanted to have a crew-cut. I've always wished I had a bald-'do.but never had the courage to, remembering the time when I did indeed have a bald-look, was when I was 18-ish year old, and cut my hair for the Army, and looked like an Alien Conehead with a sharp-dome! (But then again I had a 28 inch waist and a jawline to die for … *man-sob*). Now that I've past forty and possess a respectable waistline (*cough*), perhaps I' not have a conehead as before innit?

[Having my hair cut crew at Changi General Hospital]

I'd loved my new crewcut. Suddenly, nothing else seemed to matter then. Free from my decade of burden and worldly vanity, I feet free to do anything! And by anything, it included learning to walk and balance again. Not having hair gave me the confidence to meet people face-front again, ironically so. And I did. And maybe the eye-patch helped too (in looking "unique") and perhaps folks all around were extremely helpful in providing "positive reinforcement" when it came to helping patience regain their confidence and feeling good .. but it didn't matter to me then, I had my confidence to move forward, and nobody can ever ask for more than that.

[Leaving St Andrew Community Hospital on Christmas Eve]

Fast forward the now, with my hair slightly grown out, I'd still use a comb to kept it intact (altho never do carry one along with me) and I sort of like it where it's at, although a tad longish, and near everyday waking up with a bad-hair-day, I'd still trudge along as best I can.

Hair aside, having being to sit in a wheelchair all these while, and left me donning tees and board-shorts, because frankly, I'm sitting down anyways, yeh? But on Monday, I had returned my leased wheelchair and begun walking free with a walking cane (I consider "limping" mildly still "walking" ;p), and I had a Dental Appointment Tuesday, which had both made me comb my hair, and wear something else other than a board-short, because I ha wanted to look decent in public ~ by gawds I was VAIN again!

Tis somewhat like re-living my life decade again, a new lease of life I can journey forth into, and that is a chance I intend to walk well and good into, IMHO, hair-combs be damned!


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