How do our Wigs Play a Role in our Identity?
(Wig shown above: ARIA WIG BY ELLEN WILLE | MONO PART)
Who are you? You are not just one thing. You are not just your looks, your personality, your wealth, or your job. You are many things. But as I talk to women who have lost their hair, for whatever reason, they all share a common idea. Their hair is part of their identity. I can understand that even though I know it’s “just hair” and it is not the sum of us. It doesn’t define us. But we have looked at ourselves in the mirror for X number of years and our hair has become part of what we see day after day, year after year. And then one day it looks different, or one day most is gone, or all is gone, and then what?
Oftentimes, when women lose their hair, whether temporarily or permanently, they feel the loss deep down as if they have lost something forever that was a part of who they are—or were. This can result in grief stages just like any loss. If you are new to hair loss and/or still in a grieving stage, be kind to yourself and know that you will find yourself again. I think that is why we just seem to know when we put that wig on if it is us or not. We can still see our real selves—we can see beyond the style, color, and the fact that it is a wig. We can see more than a flattering (or not) wig, we can see if that wig reflects who we are or not. You can bet that if you compromise on this, keeping a wig that you just can’t connect with, it will end up in a box. Or if not back in the box, you will make yourself wear it but will always be aware it is not you.
Unlike a new dress or shoes, a wig replaces your hair, something that you had for many years in most cases, and something you never thought you would be without. While men lose their hair and suffer from loss too, I am sure, they don’t seem to deal with it in the same way that women do. It was always more “acceptable” for men to lose their hair. For women, it has always been different, like a lot of things are for women.
While wigs can make a huge difference in how you see yourself in the mirror, and how others see you, it will begin to make a difference when you can look in that mirror and just see YOU. Then you will know that you have put the grief away, you have lived through it, and you are stronger for it. I think it took me a good while before I stopped seeing “wig” in the mirror and just started seeing myself. I worried every day for a long time that someone would look at me and figure it out. It was inhibiting and uncomfortable—and unnecessary.
One day out of the blue I remembered what my grandmother told me after my mother cut my bangs too short when I was in first grade. She took me aside as I was having a meltdown moment and looked me in the eye. (I have heard something similar from others in different ways since and maybe you have too) The gist was: “honey, remember that most people aren’t thinking about you or even seeing you, they are busy thinking about themselves.” This thought helped me as I went out into the world trying to still be me with my first wig. I wished my grandmother had been around so that I could have thanked her. But the day did finally come when I stopped watching other peoples’ eyes to see if they were looking at my head/hair/face. I just tried to look people in the eye and be myself—tried to project confidence. The more I did that, the more “me” I became. While for months at home, I still saw the wig first when I looked in the mirror, one-day things changed. I looked at the entire me, and that was the turning point. The real me and the me that I projected out to the world merged, and I was “back” at last.
Fast forward to now, and there is nothing but excitement when it comes to wigs and wig products, and I value being able to put my Muse on my head in five seconds, run my fingers through it and go. I am looking forward to shopping for more wigs for fall and winter. I just got a new one that I am kinda in love with. See my picture below.
Until Next time.
Vickie Lynn in Crowd Pleaser, RL 12/22 Shaded Cappuccino, Raquel Welch.