In 2012 I started shaving my head. I wish I could say I shaved my head for solidarity with a friend who was going through cancer treatments or that I lost my bet that the LA Kings wouldn’t win the Stanley Cup or that I failed at fire-juggling, but I did it for vanity. I am a vain, vain man. Long before I started my crusade against the gluten industry, I was diagnosed with alopecia areata. Alopecia is when your body doesn’t recognize hair as hair and causes it not to grow and creates bald patches. Occasionally I would have some flare-ups and I would use a steroid lotion to restart hair growth. This was my pattern until I graduated college and lost my health insurance. After that, it became very expensive to keep regrowing my hair. Late in 2011 I was losing my hair in larger and larger patches, and it was staying out for longer periods, too. Towards the end of May in 2012 I was missing about 45 percent of my hair and I could no cover it. I gave in and decided to shave it all off. I went to my hairdresser where she shaved off the remaining clumps and I went home to shave off the rest of it with lady’s leg razor. Seriously, those things are a godsend when it comes to going over the awkward contours of a head. I was now bald and proud. Hell, I even went out and bought some new hats so I wouldn’t burn my scalp in the summer sun. I started to rely more on my confidence and personality because, let’s face it, I couldn’t fall back on my blond-ginger roots to get me out of trouble. It was a pretty speculator summer and autumn. I started experimenting with my hair growth again toward the beginning of winter and discovered that most of it had grown back in the bald patches. I could grow out my hair out again. For almost all of 2013, I had my hair back in some very interesting and awkward hairstyles, but it was my hair from natural growth – no steroids or creams to induce it. That was until late in the fall when I had a resurgence of alopecia and the patches got bigger and bigger. I had to shave my head again after readjusting to having hair. This looked like it was going to be my new cycle. I started a new ritual of shaving my head weekly, which has now gone on a year. I kept it clean with my beard and changed my appearance from bald with a beard to completely shaven to a bald head with a mustache (with or without sideburns), it didn’t matter, I just wanted to keep changing my limited look. However, I was getting frustrated that no new hair had grown in the several months following my weekly ritual shearing. I went to a new dermatologist for suggestions and treatment. She put me a cream that just had to be left on for 30 minutes and washed off after applying it to the scalp. That was back in September and now in a few short months I’m already seeing hair growth and feeling a lot more optimistic about my scalp health. For the first time in nearly a year, I have hair in new places on my scalp and it’s only getting better. Hopefully in a few months I’ll be able to get a haircut, which sounds like a bizarre aspiration for a 26-year-old, but I really wanna be warm this winter.
A very long time ago in a nearby galaxy and hard drive, I started writing a very lengthy recount and recap of my experiences and lessons during my last break-up.
I started writing it at 3 a.m. before I went to work, but never finished it because I had to get some sleep. I thought I would come back to it later that day or night. I didn’t. Instead, it just stayed in my documents folder untouched for over a year.
I thought it was deleted when I was updating and rebuilding my laptop, however, it stayed tucked away in the documents folder, safe from my own destruction. I’ve been re-writing and working on it for the past few hours.
I plan to release it as a series of postings over the next week and hopefully put some new posters up, too.
This is gonna be fun.
If there’s one thing I excel at is isolating myself from the rest of the world. It’s not a skill I’m proud of, either; I’m just really good at blowing off people and plans with half-assed excuses because I would much rather spend my time wallowing in self-pity and denial of my feelings than go out and make new memories. I’m like really good at it.
This past summer kind of proves that, too. I didn’t have a lot of plans with people nor did I bother to make any plans either. I left my old job under some very weird and complicated circumstances, but I spent the first few weeks of my newfound unemployment watching movies and binging on TV shows that I hadn’t seen in ages. Truthfully, it was nice having no responsibilities and just letting go of the usual summer stress… until I started to get bored.
Boredom and me don’t get along. I need something to keep my interest and distract me from life, otherwise I start to invert and end up spinning my hamster wheel until I collapse from dehydration, or I start fantasizing about every possible outcome from future and past arguments and conversations and end up getting more depressed than before. It’s an endless cycle of me staring into the void, lost in my headphones, losing control of my thought-process as it wanders into every crevasse and canyon. It’s not healthy.
So, I made an appointment with my primary doctor. As I’ve mentioned before with my random bouts of lower back pain, I’ve been putting off this visit for some time, but I was able to see him for a diagnosis. During that appointment I was sent for blood work, a GI workup, and referred to a psychiatrist for the prelim diagnosis of depression.
After starting a low-dose anti-depressant, getting blood work done, meeting with a GI doctor and psychiatrist, my life was starting to get slightly better: I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease along with moderate depression and anxiety. I know that sounds contradictory, but at least now I had some reasons behind my mental and physical aliments. I now had a plan to help with my Celiac Disease and my anti-depressant was starting to work. It was actually pretty great to feel like I was making a difference in my life… until I realized that I was still alone.
I had spent so much time trying to solve my problems on my own that I became a hermit whose only close friends live Pittsburgh and Boston, hours away from casually getting together for a show or a drink. The more I reflected on it, the more I realize that I’ve felt alone for almost entire life. Not in a parental neglectful way or anything, but more like in a niche way. When I would start hanging out with people, either they would get bored of me or I would get bored of them and then we would start slowing losing contact with each other until we would sporadically and casually hang out. Yet I’m weirdly okay with that.
I think being alone (albeit a terrible feeling) has been for the best. Being alone has allowed me to explore my interests without judgment and let me do whatever I wanted without feeling guilty for leaving other people out. There’s no pressure from other people to do what they’re doing. Granted, it does make sharing my experiences with other a bit more difficult, but I still get the results I want.
Do I occasionally want what others have? Of course, but I’m not killing myself to edge out others to achieve it.
I know one day I won’t be alone and I’ll find my niche, but for now I’m alone and that’s exactly how it should be.
I miss my dog.
It just occurred to me that the two year anniversary of when we had to put him down due to his fledging health is right around the corner.
Around this time in 2011 (the lead picture is about six months prior) he got into some heavy chocolate and sugar cake.
Normally, he could eat it without any complications; he had an iron stomach. Seriously. It’s not like we purposefully fed him fast food or sugary foods or anything, but whenever he would steal dinners from us, it never negatively affected him.
He was Elvis, Master of the Iron Stomach.
However, after eating that dessert he started acting really strange. He started staying outside longer, sleeping more often, and I had to drag him into the house from the backyard on several occasions.
Then, my dad and I found him in the basement on the cold cement floor just lying there. He wasn’t letting us get near him. We finally took him to the ER vet for testing after an arduous lifting process from the basement to my truck.
After several tests were completed, the doctor told us that Elvis had developed severe diabetes, kidney failure, and pancreas problems. We were at a loss. It just happened so suddenly and he was only five when all of these issues came up out of nowhere.
The doctor told us to wait a few more days before we made any decisions. That was Sunday afternoon.
By Tuesday morning we were told that euthanization was the kindest thing to do. He was no longer stable and was not recovering.
My dad and I went to the hospital, spent a good 10 minutes saying our goodbyes, crying the whole time, then the doctor came in and gave him the shot. It took less than 25 percent of what was necessary for him to go meaning he was already verge and we gave him the necessary nudge.
I still cry thinking about that day.
We tearfully watched them cart away his body knowing we’d get him back in a giant wooden box. We paid the bill, went home and did what all people do in times of despair: we each took a carton of ice-cream and watch our favorite TV shows.
I made the phone calls to the family members. They all offered their condolences, like you do when something terrible happens.
When my mom came home from work, she started to cry and we had a TV style family hug in our kitchen.
I miss him. I miss my dog who used to think it was OK to climb onto the couch with me while I was napping on a summer afternoon even though he never fit. I miss the overly excited welcome whenever I came home from college. I miss the dog breath whenever he kissed me.
I miss my buddy. I just wish I got to spend more time with him.
I love you, Elvis.