31 March 2017
When I thought it was temporary, in that limbo between a radioactive pill taking it all away and my own amazing body bringing it all back, I thought having spare hair was fun. I never called it “a wig.” That is what my mother wore in the 70s, when she didn’t feel like streaking her hair anymore and thought that permanently streaked, non-growing hair was the solution. She didn’t even make it a month.
I made it for two years. At first it was fun, having more hair than I’ve ever had, and cute hair. I could toss it. It could fall into my eyes. It moved! As Trent used to say, “It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.” And I got hurt. First by the spare hair device itself, elastic cutting into my scalp, especially that part behind my ears, digging a groove that I would sink my fingers into at night, trying to rub in blood and feeling. It was fine in the morning, okay at noon, uncomfortable by four, and by eight I wanted to rip the damn thing off. That was on the outside. On the inside, I felt like a plastic rabbit. I wasn’t being real.
When I went to Florida in January of 2017, to visit two of my most wonderful friends, the second thing I said to them was, “I don’t want to wear this thing anymore.” Ginger, ever honest, said, “It’s about time.”
Back in January of 2015, there had been a conversation with someone whose opinion I valued:
Me: I’m going to have to take a pill and it’s probably going to make all my hair fall out.
Other: But it might not. You don’t know that.
Me: Actually, the doctor is very certain that it will, because of the dose they’re giving me.
Other: You’re going to get a wig, right?
And I quickly said yes because even though I hadn’t been sure of what I would do I was suddenly sure. And all that was fine–and even fun for awhile–until it wasn’t any more. My original plan had been to wear spare hair until my real hair came back. But only about half of it decided to make the return trip.
I knew my friends would support whatever I did but I wasn’t sure about work. Because I was in the middle of a transition between jobs I asked both of my bosses. The former boss said, “I want you to be your authentic self” and the new boss said “Amen.” So I took off the spare hair, rubbed my hands over what was left, went to a barber shop for a buzz cut with a #2 blade, and called it good.
I like the way I look. It’s different than the way most women look but it works for me.