Twisted Up Like a Pretzel

By Jeff Justice, CSP

When I conduct courses leading to Continuing Education Units (CEUs), we take some time to understand personality styles. It’s amazing how many of us have been twisted into pretzel shapes, trying to fit into jobs and situations that don’t use our strengths and emphasize our weaknesses. We really can get ourselves into situations where we don’t fit, and sometimes our bodies try to tell us what our minds can’t hear.

I got married for the first time right out of college, just 23 years old. Well, I figured, I’ve already experienced everything that life has to offer, so why not? I was an idiot, married to a wonderful woman, but we were just too young to know. The week after we got married, I was brushing my hair and noticed a spot about the size of an eraser where my hair was gone. I remember thinking, “Boy, that must have been some bachelor party!” The spot started growing, and the next week, it was as big as a nickel. Within a month, it was the size of a silver dollar — not even peach fuzz on it! Then another spot appeared on the side of my head. And then a couple at the back and on the other side. My friends started calling me “Spot!” I didn’t know what it was — male pattern baldness, little aliens making crop circles all over my head?

During the next three years, I tried every medical treatment: bimonthly cortisone shots, creams I rubbed into my scalp, a host of shampoo treatments. Nothing helped. And there were only so many ways I could part my hair and still cover it. I stopped the treatments after three years…when I got divorced. Within months, all of my hair grew back! (Now, I’m not saying divorce is the cure for baldness. It just worked for me personally.)

It amazed me and I still don’t think I grasped what was really happening back then. At that time, I just thought, “Well, it just took three years for my hair to finally start growing back.” I didn’t realize the stress I had taken into my body or the release of stress I experienced in the divorce.

I’ve learned since that time how my particular personality style has tended to “stuff” rather than recognize my feelings. I’ve also learned that our bodies will eventually tell the truth, even when we lie to ourselves. And I’ve learned it’s better to stand up instead of being twisted up like a pretzel!

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