newspeople love to pick at me for my shaved head what my shaved head means to me

People love to pick at me for my shaved head: What my shaved head means to me

chris graham espnAnother reader upset with something that I wrote went to the go-to insult that people have for me: my shaved head.

“I know, in that tiny, hairless skull of yours, you’re thinking ‘well, good,’” Emma Klein, the founding president of the Friends of the Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center, commented on Thursday on a story that I wrote on a PetCo Love grant that will pay for spay-neuter services at SVASC.

And then there was this one, from a recent email from reader Kathy Williams, who had an issue about a column on LSU basketball star Angel Reese: “Stay yo ole ugly bald headed ass out of her business. Nobody interested in what you got to say. You tha damn fool.”

Another, from an email from a reader who otherwise didn’t articulate what it was that he had issue with: “Why does anyone care what some immature, defensive, couple of teeth missing bald dude writes about in the press with fake farfetched analogies?”

This is daily for me.

You don’t want my job anymore, do you?

It’s not all sitting courtside and on the 50-yard line and talking to big-name coaches and senators and such.

Gotta say, though, credit where credit is due, people are paying attention.

Because as you can see from my profile picture, yep, the skull up there is hairless.

Y’all got me there.

The thing with the shaved head is, I’ve been shaving my head off and on since my early teen years, and consistently since 2013.

It’s part of my look now, such as I have a look.

And as far as that goes, me having a look, I’d caution, kids, don’t try this at home.

Seriously, I went on, like, zero dates in high school.

Anyway, I don’t keep my head shaved because I already have bald spots, because my hair is thinning.

It’s because, and this is going to sound odd, at first heading: I’m actively trying to look menacing.

Let me explain, and warning, this is where things go from lighthearted to zero-matter heavy.

It all dates back to my response to being sexually abused as a child.

I didn’t realize it until I started therapy two years ago, but that experience looms over pretty much everything for me in my life, for good and bad – obviously, mostly bad.

Trust is an obvious issue.

I basically don’t trust anybody, because I assume that everybody is out to hurt me.

I don’t have respect for authority, for probably obvious reasons.

I have almost no feelings for family.

How the shaved head fits in is, I perceive that it makes me look like I’m not one to be trifled with, and that’s my goal in life, to not be trifled with, ever again.

I started shaving my head as a teen whenever I was feeling particularly vulnerable, as a cry for help that was so subtle that no one picked up on it.

I’d grow my hair back when I’d get to feeling good about things, then shave it again when things seemed to be closing in.

Weightlifting was another cover for me.

When I started the 10th grade, I was my current 6’1”, but I weighed in at 130 dripping wet.

By the time I’d graduated high school, I could bench press 225 pounds, and I weighed 215, and my head was shaved.

My life best in the bench is 450; I once squatted 650, and leg pressed 900.

The goal with that and the shaved head was to send the message: don’t f— with me.

I’m far from being any kind of actual tough guy, incidentally.

I’m the exact opposite.

I’m scared of everything.

I see threats around every corner.

Even friends are threats.

I hate dinner parties, big public events, being introduced to strangers.

It’s a horrible way to live, admittedly.

For years, I used it, to a degree, to my advantage, throwing myself into work 15 hours a day because the more I worked, the less free time I had to let my mind wander about the threats that might be out there.

Now that 20 years of working 15 hours a day has made it so that life is more than comfortable professionally and financially, I have free time.

Free time is bad.

For years, I filled free time by eating everything in sight, and on New Year’s Day 2014, I was up to just under 300 pounds.

I put myself on a New Year’s resolution that day to lose weight, and predictably, for someone who looks for things to do to take the mind off thinking everybody is trying to hurt you, I threw myself into it full bore and lost 120 pounds in seven months, to the point that some people to this day think I had to have gone through a serious illness that I just didn’t tell people about.

Now that I’m not eating myself into oblivion, I’m at risk of drinking myself into oblivion.

I have to have something to do, to keep myself from being myself, because I live in constant fear of everything.

I just need to friggin’ relax; thing is, try as I might, I just can’t friggin’ relax.

The therapist told me this is natural, given what happened, and I think knowing what is at the root of everything for me is good, because it allows me to try to come up with different approaches, though I have to say, I’m still struggling there.

Anyway, this explains the shaved head.

The therapist tried to nudge me last spring in the direction of growing my hair back, as a sort of step toward recovery, and I let it grow out for around 10 days, before the wife intervened, telling me she likes the shaved-head look – to my relief, because going on 10 years now of shaving my head, 10 days of growth had me on the verge of going crazy with the itching.

This, all of it, goes through my mind when somebody throws out the observation about my shaved head and tries to make it into an insult.

I’m the little kid who couldn’t defend himself.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris has won 17 Virginia Press Association awards for his work as an investigative reporter, feature writer and columnist. Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, both published in 2019, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, Want to reach Chris? Try [email protected].