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My Personal Take on Simone Biles and What Matters Most

July 29, 2021

Even walking across my road to retrieve the mail on a hot summer day can’t be done most days without quickly popping on a pink hat to cover my bald head. Not many cars come down our road, mostly tractors in the summer harvesting wheat or watering knee-high corn, so why the need to hide my perfectly round head from the occasional passerby?

Photo Credit from CBS News

As the world talks about Simone Biles and her difficult, personal decision to bow out of the Toyoko Olympics, following suit with sister athlete Naomi Osaka who withdrew from Wimbledon earlier in the summer due to her mental health, I was moved to write because I understand them and their current situation. Like them, I know this is a stage of my life where limited acceptance of my physical and mental situation will not define me in the end.

Although hiding my head in public is based more on vanity, I suppose more than anything else after having beautiful, healthy brown hair for fifty years complete with perfect eyebrows and long eyelashes, I understand that a woman’s mental image, stamina and strength of character can flip on a dime if dealing with difficult emotions and expectations from themselves and society.

I am not ‘head’lining the front of every sports story around the globe, but in my own part of the world, I pick and choose when I want to display my baldness, where, and to whom. On brave days, I gloriously let my head shine in the sun, on less confident days, I mask it under a hat, wear sunglasses, and hope people don’t notice me. In the spotlight and on stage in my 26-year public speaking career and as a writer in our local newspaper and local television guest, shrinking in the lights still bothers me after 3 years of complete baldness. I’ve had to deal with accepting my own vulnerability.

Photo credit to Yahoo.com

Yesterday as I read the headlines about Simone’s withdrawal from the USA Women’s Team Olympic Gymnastics competition, I headed out to where I feel most comfortable, on my bike, without a hat, only a bike helmet, to get rid of negative energy and soak in good vibes. By the end of my 15-miler, I took off my helmet in the full parking lot, saw people stare at my bald head, got in my car and took the photo at the beginning of this post to share on social media to support Simone and talk about mental health when dealing with a diagnosis.

Believe me, today I want to erase that physical image from my social media pages, and put my condition back undercover, but I’m going to keep it up because Simone and Naomi don’t have the chance to go undercover with their news because they are in the public’s eye. All I say everyday to myself, to you my readers, and to the public, is be kind to people who are dealing with sensitive mental health issues. Criticism never helped anyone, only kindness did.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Darlene Ann Kanuk permalink
    July 29, 2021 12:08 pm

    Thank you Tracy for helping us to remember this valuable lesson. We don’t walk in anyone else’s shoes but our own. It does not help to criticize others, it only helps us to remember to BE KIND.

    Like

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