Don't Wig Out

Sunday, January 21, 2007
As many of you out there know, it's no secret, I wear a wig. For those of you who didn't know, this might be a bit of a shock so I'll give you a few minutes to let it sink in... Are you ok now? Good. Let's continue, shall we.

Yes, it's true. I've worn one for the past 5 or 6 years. Never in such nuclear colours as the one shown on the left but the overall idea is the same. This is a difficult post for me to write but one I've been meaning to get to for some time. And since I woke up for no real reason at 1:30 this morning and can't get back to sleep, now is as good a time as any. It's not that I'm embarassed about it or anything of that sort but my hair, or lack thereof, is something that I've been extremely self-conscious about for my entire adult life. Combined with my self-consciousness about my weight, or slight excess of it, it's really not surprising that I haven't had a long lasting relationship in...well, a long time.

As a child, I had very thick, curly red (at times bordering on orange) hair. I'm sure my mother would have described it as out of control, or unruly. Hairdressers (they weren't called "stylists" back then) used to marvel at it and, at times, would thin it out at the bottom so it wouldn't poof out (it WAS the time of the mullet, after all). This began to change in my mid-teens.

By age 17, it was started to become noticable that I was losing my hair. Looking back, it wasn't really that bad but one of my "friends" in high school, Doran the Dickhead, used to tease me about it all the time. Back then, I just laughed it off and didn't give it much thought. Towards the end of my university days, it could no longer be ignored. My brother, god love him, made a comment one day as we walked down the road together "I can see your scalp!". The visual becomes obvious when you realize he is 6'1" and I am 5'4" so he had quite the vantage point from which to make this observation. I took to trying to cover up the fact that I was losing my hair by using headbands, bandanas, and, yes, the dreaded Trump-esque comb-over.

I began to avoid taking a seat on crowded buses, feigning consideration for my fellow passengers. This was a lie. I wasn't comfortable with the thought of people standing over me as I sat there, being able to look down and see what was going on. I'd much rather get tossed around in the aisles by Edmonton's crazy bus drivers thank you very much. Increasingly, I began to notice people were staring more. Or perhaps they had always stared and it was just that I was finally noticing. On a date one night, I kept catching the guy I was with staring at my hair everytime I looked up from my dinner. I should have known there wouldn't be a second date. I also had another date try to run his fingers through it...didn't go so well. Again, that was pretty much the end of things. After graduating from university and getting my first real job, a friend of mine moved to the city and was staying with me for a while. At the mall one day, we happened to walk by a salon that also had wigs in their front display. Jokingly I suggested we go in and have a look. Half of the wigs we first saw were of the fluorescent nature so I really wasn't thinking too seriously about it. The rest they say is hair history.

I've been to numerous doctors and "specialists" over the past 7 or 8 years, none of whom could figure out what the hell was happening. All the blood tests they ran came back relatively normal so they were baffled, for lack of a better word. One even suggested getting a personal massager (no, not that kind thank you very much...that's a whole other post), and massage my neck and back nightly to relieve the tension in my shoulders, back and neck (truth be told they are very tight). His reasoning was that the study/trial he was currently conducting suggested that tension in these areas resulted in hair loss for a large number of women. Considering that I was about to graduate from university with no real job prospects and my parents' divorce was still quite bitter, it was not a big stretch of the imagination. I gave it a whirl. No dice. Sure, I started sleeping a bit better but that was about it. I even visited a doctor who specialised in hair transplants. She said there was not much she could for me. That's encouraging. A few years later, I was reading one of the devil's magazines (fashion) and happened across a one page article towards the end entitled "The Real Reason You're Not Losing Weight". I chuckled. They think we women are so guilable. Naturally I read it. It wasn't at all what I expected. They didn't tell me it was because I was a pig who couldn't keep it's head out of the trough...I mean fridge, or that I was a lazy slob who prefered television to exercise. Nope, it was about something called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. As my loyal readers know, I suffer from this. I was stunned. Of the giant list of symptoms they had, I could honestly claim to experience most of them. Off to my doctor I went. After a long talk and a review of the article, he confirmed that this was more than likely what the problem was. I almost cried with relief. Finally, an answer. While both he and a hormone specialist told me there was little or nothing they could to alter what had already happened (damn), they could try to manage the various symptoms so that they didn't get much worse. By this time I was already wearing a wig and will likely do so until I'm just too old to care about how I look, so the fact that my hair would not miraculously grow back was not a surprise.

As I said, it's no secret. I'm not embarassed or ashamed. Lots of women wear wigs. Some because, like me, they have a medical condition which has left them lacking in the follicle department. Others have undergone treatments for cancer or other diseases which have left them without hair. Still others wear them to change their looks, try something new, or the shear ease of care compared to natural hair. I just don't like talking about it. It's really no one's business but my own. I don't run around telling people "Hey, I wear a wig!" but if someone asks, I normally don't mind telling them although this varies. I often get quite uncomfortable when a conversation starts up about hair cuts, colouring, etc and I haven't shared with the group of people I'm with. As a result, I've told little white lies to avoid the topics.

People's reactions are quite interesting. Most are "What? Really?" and then they proceed to examine my head quite closely. I actually had one coworker whom I barely knew surpringly ask "Really? Can I touch it?". Stunned by this reaction, I nodded silently. She proceeded to pet my head like a dog. Now, I know how to answer that question.

I'm more than willing to admit I'm vain. My own family has not seen me without a wig or hat since 2001. Only one of my friends has seen me without either and that's because we shared a hotel room a couple of years ago. I used to walk with my head down, staring at the ground to avoid the looks that I would get (or I thought I was getting) from people on the street (or bus, at work, at the mall, etc). I had no confidence whatsoever. Women aren't supposed to go bald. Men are. Women are supposed to have beautiful, long, thick hair - it's part of what makes us feminine. Over the course of 10 years or so, I felt less and less "womanly". I didn't feel beautiful, pretty or even remotely cute. It's still a touchy subject and I've shed more than one tear as I've written this post but now I can walk down the street with my head a little bit higher, and if people stare I'm more willing to stare back until they are the ones to look away. While I don't feel beautiful, or necessarily pretty, I can honestly claim cuteness. Sure it's artificial but it doesn't matter, at least not to me. Sure there have been a few guys who've been uncomfortable enough with the whole hair issue to say sayanara before getting to know the "real" me but that's their problem. I'm comfortable with who I am, wig and all.


ems said...

I'm glad you're able to share this.

Oddly, I wasn't shocked even though I would never have guessed from your photo.

People, especially kids, can be cruel but more often than not simply thoughtless. I think it is really important that people are able to talk about things that make them slightly different in some way to break down the barriers and the ignorance.

candyminx said...

You probably already can imagine what I'm going to say...

You need to cut all those pesky carbs out of your diet. No bread, potatoes, rice, noodles, beans...

Since this is a ondition related to need NEED to go and get some organic natural source vitimin E, B and C. And take them with breakfast.

As for love life...well babe, I am one of those sucks who believes there is someone for every one.

I KNOW there are people out there who would not be off put or judge you because of your compromised scalp reaction. I have friends who have this condition alopecia...I think is one name for it.

Any amount of stress and consequently, stress relief affects the hair and it's growth and appearance.

It is imperative you consider a life style change, not massive but rather tweak your few habits. I promise, if you cut all those sugars from carbs( again, obviously cake and donuts...but this includes noodles, rice and bread!). Your insulin and hormones relatedto ovaries etc and weight will relax and balance out.

It may not allow for the option of hair regrowth( but I'm not discounting that either, I've seen alopecia fade and hair regrow even in men)...but more importantly so many related health issues will be warded off by cutting out crap like noodles and bread.

I know it scares a lot of people to imagine a diet without bread and noodles...for two weeks avoid them, then for the rest of your life, one of them, once a week only...and a small serving mind you. It's about the sugar affecting your insulin and hormones.

Your hair has been trying to tell you to change you diet all these years. Plus...something very very good for women is tofu. Buy firm-packed tofu, tamari, olive oil, garlic and pour them into a saute pan. slice the tofu as thin as you can so the olive oil and tamari soak into the top layer of tofu...this is very flavourful. I also put a DAASH of cayenne on the mixture. Lay the tofu out like bacon in the pan and flip it over gently occassionally. The tofu make break up but not's really to allow the tamari to soak in.

Something about tofu is magical for womens hormones...

Love ya girl...I told you two last week when you changed your blog and posted new photo that you are gorgeous...and YOU ARE!!!!

As for love life...think about what I've just written see if you feel like you can just tweak your diet...I promise the energy and mental health reaction...the last thing you'll be wondering about is sexy on this LOVE WILL FOLLOW!

(p.s. doctors don't know everything...proof being, you had to diagnose yourself! in a magazine no less!)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I do remember you mentioning before that you wear a wig. but can I say that you wear a gorgeous one? I would never be able to tell that it isn't the hair you were born with, it suits you so well.

I wonder why it is that women get stared at so, if they go hairless? I guess not enough women are doing it.

Great post.

Wandering Coyote said...

I so admire the honesty you showed in writing this post. I'm sure you cried; I nearly did, too.

There is nothing artificial about your cuteness. And you are WAAAAAY more than cute, my friend. You are truly beautiful! One day, a man is going to come into your life and realize how gorgeous you are, wig and all. And he'll be totally right for you.

Thanks for writing this; I hope you slept better afterwards.

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