Sleeping Upside Down (Post #418)

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It is difficult. It requires commitment and a will to succeed. It is not something that you just do, like watching television or driving a car. No, sleeping upside down requires a discipline and willpower that most humans would rather not engage in. But anyone who succeeds at anything must push through immense resistance and be persistent even though all they want to do is quit. Persistence is not easy and it requires moving against the forces of gravity. But persistence is the only way that human beings can achieve anything that is impossible for most people to do, especially when it comes to hair growth.

I was always the one with a full, curly head of hair. In a crowd of people my head of hair would be the first thing noticed. I had (and still have to an extent) the kind of hair that can only be bestowed upon a person through the inheritance of certain genetic predisposition. I won the cosmic hair lottery. But I suppose all good genes suffer the same fate- there must come a time for their rapid decline. A decade or so ago, as I was at work on my first novel entitled The Absurdist, I noticed strands of hair collecting on the paper as I wrote. I remember thinking, Oh no, the time has come. I felt like I was still too young to really start losing hair, but I also was well aware of the destiny that awaited me.

My father, my four uncles and both of my grandfathers all had large bald spots on the back of their head. As a young man I remember thinking that they all looked like they had encountered angry Native Americans seeking revenge on Jewish white men. (I did not realize then that being scalped involved taking out a chunk of the scalp along with the hair. I just thought it was the absence of hair.) I grew into adulthood assuming that one day I would look like I had been scalped as well. The site of my father’s bald spot would induce a depression in me so deep that I would refuse to get out of bed. What was the point of growing older if this was my fate? I thought. (This was before I knew that having a completely bald head had some sex appeal.) But like most things that horrify us, I put balding out of mind, stopped looking at the back of my family members heads and forget about it until years later strands of hair started falling from my head like a winter’s snow.

A decade later and now the bald spot is just about to break through the thinning hairs on the back of my head and declare itself for what it is, a bald spot. I still have enough hair to hide the spot but it is kind of like a girl wearing a thin, white t-shirt without a bra. If you look hard enough you can see her breasts just underneath. I am now at this point, what my barber calls the balding line. There is little time left before a spot of bald scalp will appear on my head. I needed to take radical action. I tried all the Thai, Swiss, Arabic, Australian and Russian massage techniques and a plethora of nutritional remedies but nothing seemed to work. Online I found a community of almost balding or bald men who wanted their hair back so bad that they were willing to sleep upside down. The site claimed that sleeping upside down is the best way to generate new hair growth but they also claim that it is no quick fix. In the About Sleeping Upside Down section of the website it reads: Sleeping upside down can be brutal. It is not for those who are not desperate and it is filled with obstacles. You can no longer sleep next to your partner and this might create intimacy issues. You can no longer read or watch television in order to fall asleep due to nausea and headache issues. If you have to wake in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, it is at least a thirty minute process. Sleeping upside down is a radical lifestyle change but it will give you your hair back.

Using the instructions in the Sleeping Upside Down How To section of the website, I created my own sleeping upside down contraption. The contraption is not unlike an inversion table. The difference is that with the contraption I made, I am using a long piece of the strongest kind of silk material that exists. It is so strong that it is used by various inversion and ariel artists. I attached this piece of material to a bar and hooks that hang from my ceiling and can hold my body weight. When it comes time for bed I sit inside the material (kind of like a hammock) and then with a strong push of my body weight I swing myself upside down. I rest my legs and feet up against the wall and support my head with a pillow that I keep inside the silk material. This took getting used to (the continual pulsations in my head and ears were the hardest part) but over the past ten days I have become more and more accustomed to sleeping upside down.

My wife is frustrated that we no longer fall asleep holding one another, but she is fifteen years younger than I and the last thing she wants is a husband with a bald spot. As a result she has been supportive. I have yet to see any proof that sleeping upside down is working. The testimonies and information on the Sleeping Upside Down website claim that it takes at least two months before a person sees any significant new hair growth. Over time, immersing the scalp in at least eight hours of blood flow directly to the scalp will generate new hair growth (so they say). If a person wants to achieve what most ordinary mortals consider impossible, then they must be willing to take great risks. It is the only way. All I want to do is quit and return to my comfortable bed and hold my wife tightly as we fall off to sleep together. This is all I want to do but if I do it I know I will end up with a bald spot. So I must persist. Persistence is the only way anything impossible become possible. This much I know for certain.

I refuse to go bald just yet. I have a wife that fell in love with me because of my full head of curly hair. The way that I rebel against the forces of normalcy (that run rampant in our American society) is by letting my hair grow longer than I should. If I had a bald spot in the back of my head, I would loose all cultural legitimacy. It is at this point that I presume I would begin to hunch over, go limp and grow old (unless of course I made the radical decision to shave my entire head). A bald spot in the back of my head would be the ultimate defeat, which I realize is inevitable with age. But I am not ready for this yet, since I believe I have many potent years still to go. Every night I will sleep upside down for as long as need be. I will tell my wife I love her and kiss her goodnight from a distance. I will persist and hopefully in the end, all this sleeping upside down will allow me to prevail over the forces of my genetic destiny.

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