It’s one of life’s ironies (and challenges) that we must keep re-inventing ourselves as things change in our life. Whether it be the many changes we go through to reach adulthood or now, as adults, the changes we must accept and deal with, whether it be by choice or circumstance.
We all have our milestones—graduation, dating, marriage, children, empty nest, and many others that are different or in-between all these. All along the way, we must put our best face forward as the saying goes. We play our part, and we must be the star in our current role no matter what it is. We may be a daughter, son, sibling, friend, employee, partner, wife, husband, but no matter what the title, there is a “real you” underneath that face we put on for every role that we play.
It’s not that we are phony, but we do wear a mask much of our life. We put on one for each of our roles. We’re not exactly the same when we are with our mother as when we are with our best friend or co-workers—you get the idea. But what does this have to do with wigs you may be asking? When one loses their hair, especially a woman, it can bring about a real identity crisis. Hair loss can come on sudden, or take years, or it can come as a result of medical treatment, but whatever way it comes, it is disruptive to our life and our identity. For years we may have been that person with long brown hair, short blonde hair, curly hair, and so on. But now what are we—the person with no hair, or almost no hair? And what does that mean? How do we re-invent ourselves when this happens? We need to remember: We are still the same person as always—just without our old hair.
There’s no getting around the fact that when we lose our hair we lose a part of ourselves—what has always been there may now be no more. It’s a shock, and our self-image is disrupted, and that can affect our lives in many ways. As strong as we may be, as efficient, capable, loved, loving, nice, kind—it doesn’t matter. A loss is a loss and must be dealt with, and often with very little help from others. It’s often the case that others don’t know how to help, or maybe we keep our situation a secret. Regardless, we must deal with sorrow, pain, fear, anger, shame, the best way that we can. For a woman, hair loss means that we are losing one of the things that help identify us as such. Our hair looks different from men’s hair, mostly. We need to remember: We are still the same person as always—just with different hair!
I’m glad I’m living in this time in history (when it comes to wigs anyway) because I know that I can walk down the street, go to any event, meet strangers and friends, and no one will know that I am wearing a wig unless I tell them. Wigs are just that good today. All kinds of people get all kinds of help every day to replace all kinds of losses. Whether it be hair, teeth, limbs, and even organs, we are living in a time where we have options so that we can still be who we thought we were with some help and adjustments. We need to remember: We are still the same person as always—just with lots of different hair to pick from now!
My hope for you is that you never forget who you are as you face your challenges, whether it be hair loss or other types of losses. We will all have them. No one gets out of this life without scars my grandmother used to say. She also said to wear them as a badge of honor because it shows how strong we are. That’s not to say we won’t have some dark moments and look in the mirror and get so angry that we don’t have the hair we had at twenty-five, and we wonder for the millionth time, “why me”?
When I am tempted to say, “why me,” I think of my grandmother who lost her husband before she was forty and was left with six children to raise during the depression. When I was growing up it was all just something in the history books to me. I didn’t connect it to her because I never once heard her complain about it, not even about losing their ranch in Texas. Nor did I hear her complain about the food and materials rationing during the war or hear about her fear when she watched two of her three sons, still teenagers, go off to that war. I never once heard my uncle complain about losing one of his legs. My grandmother never forgot who she was, nor did my uncle. They both got on with their lives. They are my inspiration when times get hard.
I don’t know if I could have endured what my grandmother did without complaining but knowing about it helps me keep things in perspective. In the end, no matter what we have to face, we find our way. We know that though we do play many roles in life if we remember who we are, that will keep us going.
Until next week,
Vickie Lynn saying,
Be proud of who you are, just like these English swans in a lake near London, this past winter. The bad weather doesn’t stop them from being what they are and from doing what they are meant to do. (Picture from my cousin who lives in London and never fails to walk no matter the weather).