It’s hard to believe that its been 2 whole years since I shaved off all my hair in an attempt to briefly understand what it would be like to wear a wig on a daily basis. It was definitely something that I will never forget.
I have had many people ask me what my experience was like and ask me to write about it. I always meant to write about it sooner, but time got away from me and quite frankly I thought to myself, “who cares?” Who cares what I, a person who has hair, who made the “choice” to shave my head, only to have it grow back immediately with no pain and no sickness thinks? Who really cares?? And seriously, I still feel that way. I don’t really care about my experience at all. What I do care about is each and every woman that I have helped on her journey through hair loss. I care deeply about every story that I have heard and I am humbled and grateful for the trust that these women have put in me to educate them and provide them with quality hair replacement options.
I have the pleasure of serving women who have no choice. They have absolutely no choice whether they have their own hair or not. Some are sick with cancer and lose their hair to chemo. Others have autoimmune diseases and their hair just falls out without any warning and without any rhyme or reason. There are women who have hereditary hair loss or excessive thinning. Some, through no choice of their own, have a disorder in which they are compelled to pull out their own hair. There are many different reasons women lose their hair. The feelings and emotions that accompany hair loss are also entirely unique with each person.
I’ve known women who, when faced with hair loss due to chemotherapy choose to shave their heads immediately before any hair starts to fall out. I’ve also known women who choose to hold on to every last strand. There are women who are comfortable wearing hats and scarves. Some women are fine with super thin hair. There are women who grieve deeply the loss of their long thick hair while others couldn’t care less. What I have learned through all of my experiences with each woman that I encounter is that whatever they are feeling and whatever they choose to do or not do with their hair is OK.
I had someone once say to me that a bald head seemed like a badge of courage for a woman going through chemo. Maybe it is. If a woman feels that her bald head is her badge of courage, then it should be. Not every woman feels that way and that is OK too. It shouldn’t be any less a badge of courage if a woman wants to wear a wig while she goes through chemo.
Chemo and sickness are not the only reasons people lose their hair. Some women lose hair for no apparent reason at all. They are not sick, yet if they walk around with a bald head they get looked at with eyes of sympathy and sadness because people assume they are sick. Again, if someone with long term hair loss decides that a wig is not for them and they are comfortable rocking their baldness, then I say, you go girl! If they decide they want to buy some hair to wear, then there is no shame in that either.
I’ve been asked many times why I do what I do. Why do I want to work with wigs? The answer is simple. I love to make women feel beautiful and I love to create beauty.
Should a woman feel beautiful just because of who she is on the inside? Yes. Should a woman be able to walk around with whatever hair she has or does not have and still feel beautiful? Absolutely. Should a woman have confidence because she is smart and capable? Yes. Should a woman be able to go to a meeting with no hair and not get looked at with sad or inquisitive eyes? Yep. Should her colleagues assume she is able to complete the job at hand with excellence? You bet! Do all of these things happen all of the time in the world that we live in? Nope. Is it right? No way! Will they ever happen all the time? I sure hope so.
In my experience with women and hair, I have found that it is so much more about how she feels than how she actually looks. I can tell a woman all day long that she looks fabulous in a short haircut, but at the end of the day if she “feels” ugly and unfeminine, then its not the right cut for her. She needs to “feel” fabulous.
I had many people tell me that I looked beautiful with a bald head. It was very kind of people to say and I’m sure they meant it. However, I didn’t “feel” beautiful. I felt naked and I felt like someone else. I didn’t feel like me.
So when I’m asked how it was to wear a wig, my answer is always the same; it sucked. (Not great for business, I know!) Sometimes it was completely hot, completely itchy and completely annoying as hell. BUT it always felt completely like me. It felt like I could go anywhere and not have people look at me strange or weird. It felt like I still looked like myself and that mattered to me. The bottom line is, a wig was what I needed. It isn’t what everyone needs and that is OK. If I would’ve been a hat or scarf person, I would have worn them. I’m NOT and that’s OK. If I would’ve felt comfortable rocking my bald head, I would have. I didn’t and that’s OK. Its ok that I liked wearing a wig because it made me feel like“ME”.
This is what I really want every woman to know when I work with her and her individual hair loss. IT’S ALL OK. If a woman feels like her best self with a hat or a scarf on, it’s OK. If a woman feels like her best self with thin fine hair, it’s OK. If a woman feels like her best self with no hair, it’s OK. If a woman feels like her best self with a wig or a hairpiece on, it’s OK. My goal is to meet every woman where she is at and support her there. In the end, if that means she doesn’t get a wig, well then that’s OK with me too.