Our Identity—What We Project vs. Who We Are- And How do Wigs Play a Role?
One of the many things I like about wigs is that there is one to suit any of my changing moods. This last year it has been mostly one mood—lockdown blues and putting whatever is handy on my head to answer the door. Since our time with others has been severely limited for what seems like years now, I have gotten out of the habit of wig styling and wig care. A few days ago, I got into my closet and pulled out wig boxes. There were wigs there that I haven’t seen in ages, and several I have never worn at all and that I need to sell. I looked at all of them again with new eyes. Some I will likely work back into my rotation this summer as we are able to get out more and back to some sort of what was life before Covid. But I found two good quality wigs, a nice cap, a cute style, and I wondered why I had never worn them (I have two of the same wig, don’t ask me why.) This all takes me to my blog topic for the week—what we project to the world is sometimes not who we are. As I stood there wondering why these wigs were still in the box, it finally dawned on me. The reason I didn’t wear these wigs had to be that they were just not me. Somehow, I knew it, just like we all know it when something is false for us.
As I get older, I find my personal tastes change, along with my ideas and goals. I have less patience for putting on false fronts and playing an uncomfortable role. Sure, we all wear a mask—and I don’t mean the Covid prevention one. We are polite to people that we may not necessarily like, but we smile, we try to be agreeable, we are adults. Along with being a responsible member of polite society, we have to be careful not to lose ourselves. 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, that 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. Because 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 really 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 I still saw the wig first when I looked in the mirror at home for months, 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 a new summer wig and it is time for some new products. I have heard so much about JR, Peace Out, I have to try it for what I have in mind for summer. I also have my eye on the soft caps to wear around the house. I have put links below so you will know what I am talking about if you too could use some new supplies for spring and summer. I am ready to get back out into the world, and to be a more attractive me—even with a mask for a bit longer! You too?
Until Next time. Vickie Lynn “peace out”…