Monday, March 31, 2014

Andre Agassi's "Open" : A good read, and his hair travails revealed!

Based on a recommendation, I recently read "Open" by Andre Agassi, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I've never been a huge tennis fan, but I often watched Agassi's matches alongside my high school tennis-playing friends. 

In his autobiography, Agassi talks about his hair. That famous hair that came...and eventually went. He talks about the moment when he decided to shave his head, which was at the insistence of Brooke Shields, whom he married (and later divorced). Here, he describes the moment of truth - the moment when he looks in the mirror for the first time after shaving off his hair: 

***
"I walk to the mirror. I see a person I don’t recognize. Before me stands a total stranger. My reflection isn’t different, it’s simply not me. But, really [what] have I lost? Maybe I’ll have an easier time being this guy. All this time with Brad (his coach), trying to fix what’s in my head, it never occurred to me to fix what’s on my head. I smile at my reflection, run a hand over my scalp. Hello. Nice to meet you.

I feel exhilarated, and heavily indebted to Brooke. You were right, I tell her. My hairpiece was a shackle, and my natural hair, grown to absurd lengths, dyed three different colors, was a weight as well, holding me down. It seems so trivial – hair. But hair has been the crux of my public image, and my self-image, and it’s been a sham.

Now the sham is lying on Brooke’s floor in tiny haystacks. I feel well rid of it. I feel true. I feel free."

***

If you've been there - you know that he did a great job of capturing the essence of that moment. That moment when you're not quite sure who the person is you see reflected in the mirror, but you know it's the start of something new. And different. And better. And then the liberating feeling of having let your hair go, once you've had a few moments to sit with the "new you". That wonderful feeling of starting over, of starting anew. And as he says, of finally being free.

You can read about my own liberation here, parts 2 and 3!


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