I put my wigs away this weekend. That statement may surprise those of you who see me nearly every day and haven’t seen a wig on my head in months. I made the unconscious decision to stop wearing the wigs long before a real hair started to grow back on my head. And then it was a conscious one, when I was at the really awkward stage with just a few scattered tufts of hair and many bald spots – a defiant, I-don’t-care-what-I-look-like-and-screw-you-if-you-don’t-like-me-for-it kind of attitude (much tougher than I really felt inside). And finally, I didn’t need them as – sighs of relief – the follicles began to sprout faster, and the bald spots filled in. But I couldn’t bring myself to rid my room of the ever-present long (and short) hair perched on my shelf. Until now.
I only once in the last couple of months considered putting one of the wigs back on my head. I was going out for a night on the town and really wanted to flirt. And believe me when I say I have done my research and nothing tops having long hair when you want to attract attention. (Ok, maybe a few things, but that’s not the kind of attention I was looking for!) Men will overlook a lot of other flaws if you have beautiful, long hair. But my pride won out and I went with my own boy-like hair. Yes there was a tad bit of flirting, but I was flung back to reality when the guy was staring at the picture on my phone (he didn’t believe I had a 21-year-old son, so I showed him the picture of Nick with me in the red dress from last January) and he said “Wow, you’re beautiful!” But not looking at the me in front of him, looking at the pre-cancer me (with long, brown hair) from one year ago. Forget strikes one and two – that will count as three and you – are – out!
I had a lot of fun with my wigs in the beginning. They helped me get comfortable with the new me. Made me feel a bit better when I looked in the mirror. Helped me poke fun at the stupid thing called cancer. And I want to donate them to help other women do the same. But just not yet. I did loan a couple of them to a friend who is going through treatments now. But the others, now in a hatbox in my room, are almost a security blanket. I need a step process for this. First, out of sight but accessible. They are there if I need them, if suddenly I wake up, and all my hair is on my pillow, again. Not that it’s likely I’d put one on, even then, but I’d have options. And hopefully in the next few weeks, I will forget they are there. I will be secure that the hair on my head is here to stay. And one day, maybe in a couple of months, I will stumble across them and want the storage space for something else – like barrettes and headbands and elastics for my growing locks. And then I can find someone to pass them on to, who is at the start of her cancer journey and needs those wigs to boost her confidence and mood – to be her security blanket – as I let go.