Its been about three months since I lost all of my hair. Although the build up to it was scary, being bald wasn’t such a big deal at the beginning. I don’t know if that’s because there was so much other stuff going on that I just couldn’t focus on it, or there was still enough hair on my head to not make the baldness blatantly obvious? But nowadays there are times that I catch my reflection in the mirror and I surprise myself. I mean, I know I’m bald, but it’s funny how something I live with every day can still be surprising. And I’m noticing that I’ve become very self-conscious of my baldness.
I’m a planner, so when I learned I was going to lose my hair, I jumped right into action. Lose hair = buy wig. In retrospect, I wish I would’ve given myself a little time to adjust to the bald thing and see if a wig was the way I wanted to go.
As it turns out, I was gifted with not one, but two wigs from two amazing angel friends. The first wig we found at a wig shop. I went with two friends who stood by me with tissues and hugs. As I placed various wigs on my head, doing my best to treat this event like a girl’s day out, I couldn’t deny the truth of the situation. Seeing myself in the mirror I began to cry, and I leaned heavily on my friends, and the very nice lady who was selling the wigs. I have (had) thin hair, so it was hard to find a wig that didn’t look like a mop on my head. But eventually we found one that resembled my hair, pre-kids, when it was straight. I was overwhelmed when my friend graciously offered to cover the cost of the wig. Her desire to make my experience as easy as possible was clearly evident and despite my challenge with receiving, I accepted. I’m tremendously grateful for her kind heart and generosity. That act of kindness allowed me to shift my energy back to gratitude.
The second wig was a gift from a friend’s daughter; someone I’d never even met before. But when this young woman learned about my situation, she offered to purchase and style a wig as close to my wavy hair as she could manage. We spent several weeks chatting back and forth, sending pictures and adjusting the style so that it matched my hair. This selfless act from a complete stranger is a gift I will hold close to my heart for the rest of my life. I don’t know much about this amazing woman, but it seems that she’s going through her own, very deep challenges, which makes the gift all the more meaningful.
So by the time I shaved my head, I was armed with two wigs. Then the hard chemo treatments came and during that time, I could’ve cared less about how I looked. And then the other chemo treatments came. And before I knew it, a bunch of time had passed without me thinking about the wigs. I’d purchased a scarf that worked well when I went out in public. I really enjoy the ease of throwing it on as I run out the door. But as a result, many weeks later, I still haven’t worn my wigs.
The primary reason for this is comfort. I’ve never liked wearing hats or anything that restricts my head, so it took some time to adjust to wearing even a light scarf. And when I’m home, I don’t wear anything on my head. I’m just most comfortable this way. Even my younger son, who was so apprehensive about my hair loss, has gotten used to my bald head. (His previous hair caresses have been replaced by bald head rubs!) The Southern California temperatures were another factor. The temperatures have remained in the high 80’s since I lost my hair, so the thought of placing a wig on my head is completely unappealing. It’s just too hot and itchy.
So now as the weather cools and this new self-consciousness has appeared, I find myself considering the idea of beginning to wear my wigs.
I wonder if they’ll lessen my less self-consciousness? Perhaps they’ll make me feel a little more human? And the wigs will certainly help to keep my head warm with the cooler weather.
But it feels like I’m having to convince myself to go the wig route.
I don’t see myself wearing a wig through the entire day. And it seems like a pain in the ass to deal with putting it on and taking it off as much as I do with my scarf. Call my lazy, but I don’t know if I want to go through the whole process of making sure it’s placed correctly and brushed out and looking presentable. When I had my hair, the extent of my styling routine was getting out of the shower and letting it towel dry. The wigs will require more attention, for sure.
I was also wondering if I choose to wear the wig some times and not others, is it weird? Like if people are seeing me one day in a scarf and one day in hair, is it strange?
There’s also a part of me that feels a little fake in a wig. I mean, in my daily life, I don’t even wear makeup. I’m an ‘au natural’ kinda gal and there’s something about wearing a wig that feels a bit false.
So when it comes down to it, the most compelling reason I have to wear these wigs is that they were gifts. Amazing gifts. And I’m afraid that if I don’t wear them I’ll be disappointing my gift-giving friends. I even created stories in my head about how upset they’d be with me because I haven’t used them yet. Yes, the people pleaser in me was tugging. When I finally got up the nerve to share my thoughts and feelings with my friends, I was once again, overwhelmed with their compassion and kindness. Their goal was purely to make my situation easier, however they could. And the proof of that, for them, was simply my smile. Well then, mission accomplished.
Such is my wig dilemma. I know, in the grand scheme of things, not such a big deal, right? But this is all part of my current journey and it has been weighing on my mind.
I’ve got about a month of chemo treatments left and then slowly, my hair should begin to grow back. I’m not sure I’ll want to wear wigs through that, stick with the scarf look, or as it grows, just work the bad ass, almost-bald, but really short hair look.
I’m hoping there will be a natural solution that will present itself to me. Because in the end, the fact that I’ll have a life to live and hair to grow on my head is enough to celebrate!