Diary of a Bald Woman, Part One: Purchasing “New Hair”
Purchasing a new wig can be very scary, especially if this if your first time. Don’t worry, I am here to help ease your apprehensions and share some stories to help you gain the confidence to pick out the wig that is best for you! When I first started losing my hair to alopecia, I was only 13 years old. By the age of 20, every bit of hair, over my entire body, was completely gone. I was devastated. I felt so lost and so angry at everyone and everything. I remember my mom suggesting that I needed to go “wig shopping” with her. I was very resistant and remember yelling at my mom, saying “wigs are for old ladies!” I was in denial and didn’t want to come to terms with the fact that my hair was really gone and that there wasn’t anything I could do about it. This denial makes it really hard for a lot of women to go shopping for a wig, to replace their beautiful, lost hair.
I was mortified when I stepped into my first wig shop, Les Wig Boutique. There were foam heads, painted with gaudy makeup, false eyelashes, and cheap synthetic “old lady wigs” sneering at me. I wanted to run outside and cry. There weren’t even any dressing rooms for me to try on the different styles, and I felt so exposed and naked, baring my bald head to others in the shop. I felt violated and humiliated. Needless to say, this wasn’t a positive memory for me. It’s amazing how times have changed and how online shopping has really helped women avoid a lot of the emotional angst that is caused by having to enter a wig shop and endure this process. My perception of “wig shopping” has really changed, though, in the past 28 years.
Purchasing a new wig is a very emotional decision for women because we are losing control of the situation before us. Many women feel that they are forced into societal conformity by having to cover their bare heads. Even though we can’t control our hair loss, be it due to alopecia, chemo, trichotillomania, or other disorders, we can control the way we react to this process. Wig websites are truly a gift from above for us all. They have explain the colors, styles, materials, cap options, and even offer accessories,to help make wigs feel more comfortable. The process of researching and shopping for wigs online is very comforting and reassuring, allowing women to process their emotions, privately and discreetly.
Women can gain back control of their hair loss, by simply buying wig, which becomes your your “new hair.” I encourage women to use this terminology to empower themselves and take back control over their situation, whatever it may be. After all, it’s hair, it’s new, and it’s yours. So, be confident that you will find the right style, color, and fiber that is best for you and in your budget.
However, please remember that hair is just an extra piece of glamour for any women. Our true beauty comes from within and we should be judged by who we are and not by what we look like from the outside in. Don’t be afraid to try out a fancy new hat or comfy scarf or just go sans hair to mix it up a bit. Do what is right for you, not what others expect of you. You only have one life to live and–hair or no hair–make it the best life it can be. As I outline in my award-winning autobiography, Bald is Beautiful: My Journey to Becoming, try to turn your obstacles into opportunities and focus on your health and wellness. Remaining positive is the key to health and success. There is life after hair loss, and I’m sure that you’ll look great wearing a fun new hair style or color, or maybe you will find something that looks exactly like your hair, prior to losing it. Either way, keep the faith and always believe in yourself. Your attitude will inspire so many people, even if you aren’t aware of it.
Losing my hair helped me find who I am. It also helped me complete my Master’s degree and PhD work in psychology, to better help women, like myself.