There is Peggy Fleming, Ian Fleming and Alexander Fleming – the scientist who invented penicillin. Although she was none of these people, she was equally as interesting to meet. Outgoing, friendly, and could wrangle her six-month-old beagle while answering my barrage of questions.
The first and most obvious was her name. Her first name was her mom’s last name. Because her mom had no siblings it’s up to this young, southern gal to keep the name going. It doesn’t matter that she had two other male siblings who could have done it and perhaps done so easier than she.
Speaking of names, her dog is named after Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter. He was confined to a leash because “he will go where ever his nose takes him.”
Fleming and Paul became friends in college, where she was studying art history, and he was studying music. They’ve been together nearly a decade and married for just over four years after she received her Masters in Art Restoration in Chicago. Like a few other’s I’ve met this year, she had this to say, “So I took my expensive education and started working in a yarn shop because I like to knit.” Oddly, it was working in the craft world that she began to make cards which led to her job at a large printing company. Now, instead of restoring art work, she’s helping artist get their work printed.
Fleming has an interesting look, one that would stand out in rural Georgia but blends in nicely in urban Los Angeles. Her head is shaved – revealing a perfectly round head (like mine). When I asked her to tell me a story, this is what I discovered about her hair grooming preferences. It turns out that Fleming suffers from Trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh), a disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop.
This is something that affect girls more than boys, and often begins to develop in teenagers. For Fleming, it happened the first grade while she was suffering from a bad case of chicken pox. I grew up with someone that also suffered from this disease but tried to hide it. Fleming shaves it as a badge of honor. And she wears it well. She told me, “Confidence comes from our experiences” which left me wondering how much more she has experienced that would make her the strong, friendly, confident, and kind-hearted person that she is.
So many people vainly hide behind their hair or other physical features, but when it’s stripped (or shaved) away the is nowhere you can hide. And so, why not be seen! “I wish more people did this” she said referring to KNOWvember. And I was thinking, I wish more people were like this great soul. I guess I’ll have to go out tomorrow and see if I can find one.